Pedophiles, politicians and others are asking Google to remove links to their scandalous pasts after a European Court ruled Tuesday that people “have the right to be forgotten.”
The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the auction notice of a Spanish man's repossessed home, which appeared in a Google search, infringes on his right to privacy.
Now search engines could face legal action if they refused to remove links to information considered “inadequate, irrelevant or not longer relevant.”
The ruling applies to all links returned by any Internet search engine, not the actual web pages, according to BBC News.
A former British politician who is running for re-election has demanded all of his previous behavior in office be removed from search engines.
A European man convicted of possessing child pornography asked that links to his trial and conviction be removed.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales called the ruling “one of the most wide-sweeping internet censorship rulings that I've ever seen.”
“When will a European Court demand that Wikipedia censor an article with truthful information because an individual doesn't like it?” Wales asked.
Free speech advocates at The Index on Censorship told the BBC that the ruling "should send chills down the spine of everyone in the European Union who believes in the crucial importance of free expression and freedom of information."
But EU Commissioner Viviane Reding called it a “a clear victory for the protection of personal data of Europeans.”