Civil Liberties

EU Privacy Push Flirts With Online Censorship

For everybody's good, of course


How Google and other American Internet companies operate in Europe could come down to a link that, depending on what side of the Atlantic Ocean you're on, should or should not be deleted.

A case heard Tuesday before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) hinges on a complaint submitted by a Spanish citizen who searched Google for his name and found a news article from several years earlier, saying his property would be auctioned because of failed payments to his social security contributions.

Spanish authorities argued that Google, other search engines, and other Web companies operating in Spain should remove information such as that if it is believed to be a breach of an individual's privacy. Google, however, believes that it should not have to delete search results from its index because the company didn't create it in the first place. Google argued that it is the publisher's responsibility and that its search engine is merely a channel for others' content.