The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (‘the Working Party’), an independent advisory body on data protection and privacy set up under Directive 95/46/EC, last month released its approach to the effects of the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling, which recognised the right of individuals to have certain links (namely, those which can be considered inadequate or irrelevant) removed from search engine results. This firm’s commentary on the CJEU’s ruling can be found here and practical advice following the ruling can be found here.

Since the CJEU’s ruling, which did not detail how the right could be exercised in practice, data protection authorities have been receiving significant numbers of complaints that search engines have been refusing to remove search results as requested. The Working Party has since been working with search engines to ensure a consistent approach to the handling of complaints.

Last month, the Working Party announced its decision to establish a common approach to the issues surrounding the CJEU ruling, commenting that the “European data protection authorities have agreed on a common ‘tool box’ approach to ensure a coordinated approach to the handling of complaints”. This will include a network of dedicated contact persons responsible for developing common case-handling criteria. Those persons would provide the authorities with a common record of decisions being taken on complaints as well as a ‘dashboard’ to identify similar cases and new or more difficult cases. The Working Party also highlighted that it would continue to monitor and analyse how search engines comply with the CJEU ruling. Substantive guidelines on tackling ‘right to be forgotten’ requests are expected to be finalised by the end of November.