The Contentious Chamber, Section: 3rd, of the Supreme Court, has issued a judgment (Judgment 12/2019), dated January 11, 2019 (Appeal: 5579/2017), by which it upholds the right to digital oblivion against Google on substantially inaccurate news (ECLI: ES:TS:2019:19 Id Cendoj: 28079130032019100004).
The Chamber dismisses the appeal filed by Google against a judgment of the Audiencia Nacional of July 18, 2017, which recognized the right to be forgotten to a person whose name appeared in the search results associated with partially inaccurate facts contained in a newspaper report.
The Chamber established as case law that “the person affected by an alleged injury to the right to honor, to personal and family privacy and to one’s own image is entitled to validly base a claim action before the entity providing internet search engine services or before the Spanish Data Protection Agency when the search engine results offer substantially erroneous or inaccurate data that entail a devaluation of the reputational image that is unjustified by contradicting the pronouncements formulated in a final judicial decision”.
And it dismisses the appeal filed by Google against the judgment of the Audiencia Nacional, of 18 July 2017, which recognized the right to be forgotten to a person whose name appeared in the search results associated with partially inaccurate facts collected in a newspaper information.
The fixed doctrine explains that Article 20 of the Spanish Constitution, which regulates freedom of information, in relation to the provisions of Article 6.4 of the Personal Data Protection Act, must be interpreted in the sense that “the protection of the right to digital oblivion must be guaranteed (in accordance with the provisions of Article 18 of the Fundamental Rule) in those cases in which the information that is the object of dissemination, and whose location is obtained through internet search engines contains inaccurate data that substantially affect the essence of the news item”.
The court indicates that the appealed judgment has carried out an adequate weighing of the conflicting rights and interests, by protecting the appellant’s right to the protection of personal data against the right to information held by Google LLC (formerly GOOGLE INC.), responsible for the internet search engine, which concluded that the disseminated facts were partially inaccurate.
The judgment explains that the requirement to protect the right to information “cannot mean emptying of content the due protection of the right to personal privacy and to one’s own image, as well as the right to the protection of personal data, when they are significantly affected by the dissemination of news on the Internet”.
The Chamber adds that Internet search engine service providers lawfully exercise their business activity when they make available to the public applications or tools for locating information on individuals and this is protected by freedom of information. But it adds that, nevertheless, “they are obliged to preserve with the same intensity the fundamental right to privacy of the persons concerned, preventing any interference that could be considered illegitimate”.