The Parliament Commission on rights and duties on the Internet recently issued a draft Declaration on the rights and duties related to the Internet.
The Declaration acknowledges the importance of Internet and addresses a number of issues, such as net neutrality, data protection and the right to be forgotten (issue that we have discussed in our previous posts). The aim of the Declaration is to raise awareness also at an International and European level, triggering actions by the legislators worldwide.
While there is no doubt that the initiative is welcome, the President of the Italian Data Protection Authority (Garante per la protezione dei dati personali) also pointed out that some changes are needed, in particular with regard to the right to be forgotten.
In fact, as recognized by decision C-131/12 of the European Court of Justice (Google Spain and Google Inc. / Agencia Espanola de Proteccion de Datos), web search engines must allow the de-indexing of web pages containing personal data further to a lawful enforcement by the relevant data subject of his/her right to be forgotten. However, pursuant to the Declaration, said right cannot be limited by the possibility for the public to be informed and to search the relevant information on the Internet. In light of the above, should the de-indexing request be accepted by the search engines, anyone would be allowed to know about said request (also in order to possibly appeal the decision before the competent authority).
Accordingly, the Italian Data Protection Authority noted an inconsistency: if a list of re-indexing requests accepted by the search engines is published (on the internet?!), this would be in conflict with the purpose of the request itself, namely the enforcement of the right to be forgotten. In other words, it could result in “remembering” those that actually requested to be forgotten.
The Declaration is subject to a public consultation (starting on October 27th and lasting 4 months), so this point might be subject to further changes and re-evaluations.