Right to be Forgotten Must be Balanced with Freedom of the Press, Italian Privacy Authority Says

On March 31, 2015, the Italian Privacy Authority ("Authority") issued a decision stating that users cannot obtain the delisting of search results of recent news with a relevant public interest. However, search engines must delete or edit automatically generated snippets accompanying the search results if they are misleading. 

The claimant contested Google's decision not to delist a news article referring to a judicial inquiry in which the claimant was involved. The claimant argued that the news article was "extremely misleading and strongly detrimental." Therefore, he asked to delist the search results associating his name with that news article.

The Authority denied the delisting request upon the finding that the news was extremely recent. Additionally, the Authority highlighted the relevant public interest of the news, which referred to an important judicial inquiry with the involvement of a large number of people at the local level. For all these reasons, the Authority found that the freedom of the press should prevail on the right to be forgotten under the present circumstances. Also, the Authority noted, if the interested party deems the news to be false, he may ask the publisher to update, rectify or integrate the article.

However, the Authority also concluded that search engines must delete or modify the automatically generated snippets summarizing the information included in the search results if they are misleading. In this case, the Authority found that the summary did not match the facts described in the news article and associated the claimant to more serious crimes than those for which he was under investigation. Actually, Google complied immediatelly with this request and deleted the inaccurate snippet prior to the Authority's decision.

In line with Article 29 Working Party Guidelines and other national decisions, the national application of the right to be forgotten in Europe moves forward by implementing strong safeguards for freedom of expression.

The decision of the Authority can be found here

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