On the 24 September 2019, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice (hereafter: ECJ) released its judgment in the second of two cases in as many weeks concerning the ‘Right to be forgotten’. The first, Google v CNIL, tacked the territorial scope of the right. In the second, GC, AF, BH, and ED v Commission nationale de l’ínformatique et de Libertes (CNIL), Premier ministre, and Google LLC (hereafter: GC), the Court tackled a request for a preliminary ruling after the French data protection authority (CNIL) refused to require Google to dereference various links to third party websites in the list of results displayed following searches of their names.
A claimant known as GC wanted a link to a satirical photomontage depicting her in an illicit relationship with a politician removed from Google’s search returns. AF wanted search results removed that identified him as a public relations officer for the Church of Scientology, a position he no longer held. BH wanted deindexing of articles linking him to contemporaneous investigations into the funding of political parties, but that did not reveal their outcomes. ED had requested the de-indexing of articles that mentioned a prison sentence of seven years and ten years judicial supervision for sexual assaults on children under the age of 15. The common thread between all of the parties was that the links included special categories of personal data within the meaning of Article 8(1) and (5) of the now repealed Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC (similar provisions can now be found in Article 9 of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation). Continue reading