A few years ago, a senior executive at a Spanish multinational was given a generous retirement package – so generous that it became the subject of some comment in the media. As a result, when his name was typed into internet search engines, notably Google, it was the main story that came up. He considered this a breach of his privacy, as well as a potential danger to his family, and decided to hire the services of a firm that specializes in removing data from the internet. His name is no longer associated with that story online.
The European Court of Justice last week ruled that internet search engines are required to remove links to information if the individual or entity to which they refer believes they are in breach of their privacy, or if the information is damaging to their reputation. Google has already announced that it will soon be making a tool available in Europe to remove offending links, although companies already exist in Spain offering the service. They do this by contacting the source publication in question, whether it is a newspaper, official body, blog or chat or discussion forum.
“It’s not possible to remove everything in one go – it has to be done strategically, so as not to attract attention,” explains Diego Sánchez, the president of Eliminalia, the company hired by the now-anonymous Spanish executive. “Over time, we can make any data disappear. Given a year, we could even erase Bárcenas from the web,” he says, in reference to the former treasurer of the Popular Party, who is at the center of a huge scandal involving embezzlement and fraud.
Source: El pais. http://elpais.com/
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