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ECJ ruling

Search engines must respect data protection law

The European Court of Justice today ruled that search engine operators such as Google are responsible for the personal data they process and that affected individuals are entitled to request erasure of their details from the search index. Commenting on this ruling, Jan Philipp Albrecht, justice and home affairs spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, stated:

"The ruling by the European Court of Justice to also hold search engine operators responsible for compliance with data protection law is the right decision. Today's ruling clarifies that search engine operators are responsible for the processing of personal data even if it comes from public sources. Affected individuals are therefore also entitled to exercise their right to erasure. The Court has also clarified that connecting publicly available data to a person’s profile constitutes a new and serious breach of a person's rights. In addition to this, the ruling clarifies that European data protection law is applicable as soon as a data controller is operating on the European market. It is now important that we adopt a uniform and consistent data protection regulation in order to strengthen the enforcement of such rights in all areas of the law and throughout the EU. Governments must finally deliver on this issue at the next Justice and Home Affairs Council in June."

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