On September 18, 2014, the Article 29 Working Party (the “WP29”) issued a press release, announcing that the European data protection authorities agreed on a common “tool-box” approach to handling complaints lodged due to search engines’ refusal to remove complainant’s entries from their search results.
In a landmark ruling on May 13, 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) found that search engine operators, as data controllers, have the obligations to “remove [links to web pages] from the list of results displayed following a search made on the basis of a person’s name.” Following the decision, the European data protection authorities received complaints based on search engines’ refusal to remove complainant’s entries from their search results. The WP29 explained that such complaints showed that the ruling had addressed a genuine demand for data protection and it was necessary to institute a coordinated and consistent approach in handling these complaints.
Accordingly, it was decided that a network of dedicated contact persons would be put in place to develop common case-handling criteria, providing: 1) a common record of decisions taken on complaints and 2) a dashboard to help identify similar cases. The WP29 also noted that it would continue to analyze search engines’ compliance with the ruling.