An advisor to the European Court of Justice has said that Google does not have to delete information from its search index under European data protection laws.
Niilo Jaaskinen, advocate general to the court, said that companies like Google must abide by the law, but that it was not obligated to remove content created by others.
“Search engine service providers are not responsible, on the basis of the Data Protection Directive, for personal data appearing on web pages they process,” the court said in a statement, which outlined Jaaskinen's legal advice, according to Reuters.
The statement follows a complaint made by a Spanish man about the appearance of an auction notice of his repossessed home on Google's search engine. He wanted the information removed, claiming it was an invasion of his privacy.
Since the view is not an official court ruling, the man in question may still continue with legal proceedings. The court, however, is likely to echo Jaaskinen's views, especially since the material in question is not defamatory in nature.
Google has frequently received requests to remove content, particularly in relation to its autocomplete feature, which often pairs names with allegations made against them.
Google claims these links are user-created via its complex algorithms, but has lost some cases when it refused to remove the offending search suggestions.