Skip to main content

"Right to be forgotten" should not allow removal of accurate and lawful information say UK peers

Enforcement of the "right to be forgotten," should not allow accurate and lawful information to be removed, says a group of peers in the UK.

In a report, The Lords Home Affairs EU Sub-Committee, a UK cross political party team, say the judgment has resulted in material being removed on the basis of "vague, ambiguous and unhelpful" criteria, which does not reflect the state of modern information technology.

Read more: Right to forget results in undesired effects.

Its chair Baroness Prashar said: "Anyone anywhere in the world now has information at the touch of a button, and that includes detailed personal information about people in all countries of the globe."

"We also believe that it is wrong in principle to leave search engines themselves the task of deciding whether to delete information or not, based on vague, ambiguous and unhelpful criteria," she added.

She said the committee does not believe individuals should have the right to have accurate and lawfully available information removed, simply because they do not like what has been said.

She also said the committee believe there is "very strong" argument that search engines should not be classed as data controllers in the new regulation, and therefore should not be liable as owners of the information they are linking to.

Read more: Right to be forgotten not designed to photoshop your life.

The report compiled evidence from Google, Lib Dem justice minister Simon Hughes and the Office of the Information Commissioner, amongst other witnesses.

Mr Hughes said: "I agree that it is neither accurate nor helpful to say that the recent judgment of the European Court of Justice has given a right to be forgotten. We need to be clear that the judgment does not give individuals an unfettered right to have their personal data deleted from search engine results."