A decision of the Italian Data Protection Authority (the “Garante”) recently rejected the complaint filed before it by a person who challenged Google’s decision not to de-index an article referring to a judiciary inquiry in which he was involved and whose text was, therefore, considered as “extremely misleading and highly prejudicial” [see the decision]. According to this decision, Google’s users may not obtain erasure, from the search results, of news concerning them when (such as in the case at issue) they are about latest events characterized by a substantial public interest and are processed in compliance with the principle of essentiality of the information.
The Garante, therefore, rejected the claimant’s request for preventing Google from processing his personal data – by avoiding the association, in the search results, of his name to the above said article – since, in this case, the freedom of the press was considered as prevailing over the right to be forgotten. However – as reminded by the Garante – the interested person, whenever believing that the news referred to him are not truthful, may always request to the editor the update, rectification and integration of the data contained in the article.
In the same proceedings before, the problem of the coherence of the so called “snippet” (i.e. the abstract generated automatically by a search engine and connected with the search results) with the original texts scanned by Google arose for the first time. In fact, the claimant requested to Google, as an alternative to de-index, the erasure or modification of the snippet appearing under the article’s link, since such snipped used to connect his name to more severe crimes compared with those for which he was actually investigated and – as revealed by the Garante’s findings – seemed actually to be misleading. In the light of the above, the claimant’s request, since deemed legitimate, was autonomously embraced by Google which, therefore, provided for the erasure of the snippet generated by its algorithm.