The Court of Justice of the European Union has issued a ruling that will force search engines such as Google to decide when to censor computer users’ search results across the EU.
On Tuesday, the court said people should have some say over the results that pop up when they conduct a search of their own name online.
According to the ruling, individuals do have the right to ask the US Internet giant to delete personal data produced by its search engine.
The court, which had taken up a complaint concerning a Spanish citizen, said individuals have this right “to be forgotten,” under certain circumstances when their personal data becomes outdated or inaccurate.
Also to be affected by the advisory judgment are Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing.
“There’s many open questions,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday in response to a question about the ruling and its implications on Google’s operations.
“A simple way of understanding what happened here is that you have a collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know. From Google’s perspective that’s a balance,” Schmidt said. “Google believes having looked at the decision, which is binding, that the balance that was struck was wrong.”