European court backtracks on right to be forgotten

The European court has backtracked slightly on the “right to be forgotten” principle.

Two years ago the court decided that people had the right to update or remove incorrect material that search engines might have on them.

Today, the court is limiting the so-called “right to be forgotten” principle, ruling that individuals cannot demand that personal data be erased from company records in an official register.

The European Court of Justice said that company registers needed to be public to ensure legal certainty and to protect the interests of third parties.
Company registers only contained a limited amount of personal information and, as executives in companies should disclose their identity and functions, it said.

This did not constitute too severe an interference in their private lives and personal data. However, the court said there might be specific situations in which access to personal data in company registers could be limited, such as a long period after a company’s dissolution.

But this should be determined on a case-by-case basis.