The Belgian Data Protection Authority (“DPA”) has imposed a fine of €600.000 on Google on the ground that Google had failed to comply with the data subject’s request [‘right to be forgotten’].

In the present case, the complainant requested Google Belgium remove the search from their search engine. The search results asked to be removed concern possible links to a political party that he refutes and harassment that was declared unfounded many years ago. However, Google rejected the request to have obsolete and damaging search results removed from the site’s search results.

The DPA found in Google’s favour concerning the complainant’s possible links to a political party, given his role in public life, but found that Google should have removed those results linked to unfound harassment.  According to the Chairman of the Disputes Chamber, the right to be forgotten must strike the right balance between the public’s right of access to information on the one hand and the data subject’s rights and interests, on the other hand.

The right to be forgotten is regulated under recitals 65 and 66 and in article 17 of the GDPR. Accordingly, the right to be forgotten reflects the claim of an individual to have certain data deleted so that third persons can no longer trace them.

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Kind regards,

Zumbul Attorneys-at-Law