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In our recent article ‘The right to be forgotten’ from 18 June 2015 we discussed the European Court of Justice’s so-called Costeja decision, in which the Court of Justice recognized the right to be forgotten. More specifically, the Court determined that parties such as Google are required to take requests for removal from the search results into consideration, and remove the results where necessary. This applies to search results that are inaccurate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant.

It’s no surprise that Google was then flooded with data removal requests. Two months after the decision by the Court of Justice, Google had already logged 91,000 requests.

One of those requests came from an escort boss from Amsterdam. Having been convicted in 2012, the man requested that Google remove various links to websites containing information about his conviction. The man based his request on the Personal Data Protection Act and the aforementioned ruling by the European Court of Justice. After Google refused the requests, the man started proceedings with the Court of Amsterdam. However, in its judgement on 18 September 2014, the court ruled that:

“A conviction for a serious offense such as this, as well as the negative publicity resulting from it, is generally permanently relevant information about a person.”

The court also ruled that the escort boss had not sufficiently demonstrated that the search results turned up ‘excessive’ or ‘unnecessarily burdensome’ information, and Google was therefore not required to remove the search results.

If you have any questions on this subject, please contact the International Desk for a referral to one of our IP-specialists!