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Europe struck wrong balance on 'right to be forgotten' ruling, says Google boss

The company’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, said the ECJ had struck the wrong balance, causing what he describes as a “collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know.”

Image: Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP

AFTER THE EU Court of Justice’s (ECJ) ruling earlier this week, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has said the European court struck the wrong balance when it made its decision on personal privacy.

Responding to a question asked at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, Schmidt said the case reflects a “collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know,” and that the company believed “the balance that was struck [by the ECJ] was wrong.”

He said that since Google isn’t a media company, it is not protected under European data protection law and could have serious implications for the company.

Google’s Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, told investors that it was still analysing the decision and the impact it could have for the search engine, but described it as “disappointing,” and said it “went too far.”

The ruling by the ECJ will force Google to remove links to content about a person, under certain conditions, if they submit an application to have it removed. The company would then have to weigh up whether that information is in the public interest and whether it should stay.

Google currently dominates the search engine space in Europe, claiming more than 90 per cent of search and vastly outperforming rivals like Bing and Yahoo.

Read: Google must delete your data if you ask, orders judge in landmark case >

Read: The Data Protection Commissioner is very worried about the new postcode system. Here’s why… >

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Quinton O'Reilly

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