Google isn't responsible for personal info in search results, court says

Can Spain censor Google?

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Google is not responsible for the content of the results of its search engine and should not have to delete data from those results, the European Court of Justice suggested today.

Advocate General Niilo Jaaskinen, an adviser to the EU's highest court, said that it's not Google's responsibility to police other websites' content, reports the Telegraph.

The search giant was ordered by Spain's national data protection agency to remove a notice concerning one citizen's house from its search results, and when it failed to comply it found itself under investigation.

Spanish authorities argue that Google is in violation of the "right to be forgotten" principle, but Jaaskinen's argument refutes that idea.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

The matter is under investigation in Spain, so the high EU court has no actual clout in this fight, but the court was reportedly asked to weigh in.

"Requesting search engine service providers to suppress legitimate and legal information that has entered the public domain would entail an interference with the freedom of expression," the court said in its recommendation.

"Search engine service providers are not responsible, on the basis of the Data Protection Directive, for personal data appearing on web pages they process," it continued.

Meanwhile it looks like Google will stick to its guns.

"This is a good opinion for free expression," Google's Head of Free Expression for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Bill Echikson said in a statement. "We're glad to see it supports our long-held view that requiring search engines to suppress 'legitimate and legal information' would amount to censorship."