An individual notified the Romanian Data Protection Authority ("Authority") in respect of the publication of certain personal data (pictures as well as false and defamatory information) by an unknown person on several web pages. The personal data referred to alleged accusations regarding a supposed relationship between the data subject and a woman online.
The Authority analysed the request of the individual and the supporting documents and requested Google Inc. to delete certain links indicated by the data subject in his complaint.
However, Google Inc. considered that it had not been informed with respect to the actual content of the request or the arguments of the Authority for such request and challenged the request in a court of law. Google Inc. considered that it should not delete search results which appear in relation to the name of the data subject given the informative character and the public position and political involvement of the data subject.
The Bucharest Court of Appeal (the "Court") dismissed the request of Google Inc. on the basis that for such a decision there are two essential elements which should be taken into consideration: (i) the accuracy of the personal data; and (ii) the timeliness of the personal data.
As regards (i) the Court acknowledged that the allegations brought against the data subject are unreal, unfounded and unproven.
As regards (ii) the Court considered that, although at the moment of publishing the said information the data subject was a university teacher and a candidate for the position of mayor as well as for senator, such qualities are no longer applicable and, therefore, the necessity of informing the public is no longer justified.
Moreover, the Court held that the interest of the data subject to obtain the deletion of the personal data disclosed on the Internet prevails over the economic interest of the data controller to publish such data, as also held by the European Court of Justice in Case C-131/12 (Google Spain SL and Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) and Mario Costeja González)
Submitted by Irina Garlasu, Roxana Ionescu and Iurie Cojocaru of Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen – Bucharest, Romania in partnership with DAC Beachcroft LLP.