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EU court orders Google to remove “manifestly inaccurate” information

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Europe’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), ruled that Google must remove search results if a user can prove that it is “manifestly inaccurate.”

The case involved two executives at a group of investment companies. Google initially refused to remove search results linking them to articles criticizing their group’s model of investment. They also wanted the search giant to remove their photos in search results.

Related: Criminals are able to force search engines and news sites to censor based on controversial “right to be forgotten”

The case pits people’s right to be forgotten online against the right to free speech and information. A German court referred the case to the CJEU for advice.

The “articles in which they are identified be de-referenced from the results of a search carried out on the basis of their names and, second, that photographs representing them, displayed in the form of preview images (‘thumbnails’), be removed from the results of an image search,” the CJEU said.

It added that the evidence does not have to come through a judicial decision. A user only needs to provide reasonably required proof to a platform.

The case was first filed in 2014. Since then Google has removed the links and photos the executives wanted removed.

In 2014, the court upheld the right to be forgotten, arguing that people can request search engines to exclude links to content with inadequate or irrelevant information about them. The ruling came before the EU passed privacy laws that state the right to be forgotten should not be considered where personal information is required to uphold the right of information.

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