Stefan Kulk


Privacy, Freedom of Expression, and the Right to Be Forgotten in Europe

Kulk, S.

Zuiderveen Borgesius, F.

Forthcoming in J. Polonetsky, O. Tene, E. Selinger (ed.), Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Privacy, Cambridge University Press 2017

In this chapter we discuss the relation between privacy and freedom of expression in Europe. In principle, the two rights have equal weight in Europe – which right prevails depends on the circumstances of a case. We use the Google Spain judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, sometimes called the ‘right to be forgotten’ judgment, to illustrate the difficulties when balancing the two rights. The court decided in Google Spain that people have, under certain conditions, the right to have search results for their name delisted. We discuss how Google and Data Protection Authorities deal with such delisting requests in practice. Delisting requests illustrate that balancing privacy and freedom of expression interests will always remain difficult.


De implicaties van het Google Spain-arrest voor de vrijheid van meningsuiting

Kulk, S.

Zuiderveen Borgesius, F.

In deze bijdrage wordt het Google Spain-arrest van het Hof van Justitie van de Europese Unie besproken, evenals de ontwikkelingen na het arrest. Centraal staat de vraag naar de gevolgen van het arrest voor de vrijheid van meningsuiting. De auteurs betogen dat het Hof onvoldoende aandacht schenkt aan de vrijheid van meningsuiting.


Google Spain v. González: Did the Court forget about freedom of expression?

Kulk, S.

Zuiderveen Borgesius, F.

In this note we discuss the controversial judgment in Google Spain v. González of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Our focus is on the judgment’s implications for freedom of expression. First, the facts of the case and the CJEU’s judgment are summarised. We then argue that the CJEU did not give enough attention to the right to freedom of expression. By seeing a search engine operator as a controller regarding the processing of personal data on third party web pages, the CJEU assigns the operator the delicate task of balancing the fundamental rights at stake. However, such an operator may not be the most appropriate party to balance the rights of all involved parties, in particular in cases where such a balance is hard to strike. Furthermore, it is a departure from human rights doctrine that according to the CJEU privacy and data protection rights override, “as a rule”, the public’s right to receive information. In addition, after the judgement it has become unclear whether search engine operators have a legal basis for indexing websites that contain special categories of data. We also discuss steps taken by Google to comply with the judgment.


More Publications