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Google's Eric Schmidt doesn't agree with 'right to be forgotten'

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said courts were wrong not to balance the "right to be forgotten" with the "right to know."
By Ananth Baliga   |   May 15, 2014 at 10:58 AM   |   Comments

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 15 (UPI) -- Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has said the "right to be forgotten" ruling, which compels Google to remove links requested by consumers, was wrong.

"A simple way of understanding what happened here is that you have a collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know. From Google's perspective, that's a balance," said Schmidt. "Google believes, having looked at the decision which is binding, that the balance that was struck was wrong."

The ruling was handed out Tuesday by the European Court of Justice and said that individuals could force search engines to remove "irrelevant and outdated" search results. The case came to court after a Spanish man argued that an auction listing for his repossessed home was damaging to his reputation.

The ruling also specifically states that links to the information be removed and not the actual information.

E.U. Commissioner Viviane Reding said the ruling was a victory for the protection of personal data in Europe and that it would have no consequences on free speech concerns as voiced by others.

Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, told investors that the decision was "disappointing" and that the ruling "went too far."

Media reports suggest that Google has already received removal requests, even as it tries to figure out how to remove such content in 28 E.U. countries, even in those countries where it doesn't have an operational presence.

Follow @antbaliga and @UPI on Twitter.
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