Head of Communications for Google Europe, William Echikson, left, speaks on his cell phone at the Google headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday March 23, 2010.
Is Google responsible for links to old websites that can hurt your reputation? A top court in the European Union says the answer is yes.
The European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that consumers have the "right to be forgotten" and can ask Google to remove damaging links. Google has said the ruling is "disappointing" and is tantamount to censorship. "We now need to take time to analyse the implications," a spokesperson told the BBC.
The case is based on a complaint by a Spanish man who argued that an auction note on his repossessed home damaged his reputation. Newspaper La Vanguardia published that information in 1998.
In a Facebook post, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding hailed the ruling as a "clear victory for the protection of personal data for Europeans."
This isn't the first time that Google's privacy methods have been challenged. A group of students in California is suing Google over the search giant's practice of scanning Gmail messages to glean advertising targeting information. Last month, Google announced it no longer scans students' emails.