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Google must amend outdated

AMSTERDAM--A European court, in an important test of the “right to be forgotten,” ruled Tuesday that Google must amend some of its search results at the request of ordinary people when they show links to outdated, irrelevant information.

In an advisory judgment stemming from a Spanish case, The Court of Justice of the European Union said Google and other search engines do have control of individuals' private information, given that they sometimes compile and present links to it in a systematic way.

The court found that under European law, individuals have a right to control over their private data, especially if they are not a public figures. If they want irrelevant or wrong personal information about themselves “forgotten” from search engine results, they have the right to request it — even if the information was legally published.

People “may address such a request directly to the operator of the search engine ... which must then duly examine its merits,” the ruling said.

Google must remove links to pages containing the information from results “unless there are particular reasons, such as the role played by the data subject in public life, justifying a preponderant interest of the public in having access to the information when such a search is made,” the court said.

Google could not immediately be reached for comment.

It had argued that it doesn't control personal data, it just offers links to information already freely and legally available on the Internet. It had also argued that it should not be forced to play the role of censor, especially when it offers links to information that was legally published.

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