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oblivion 24 . One challenge for operators and scientists working in the world of
information, should also be to promote the effectiveness, by using the support of
technology, of the individuals' ability to exercise the right to delete data. This
right will relate to information which in time appears to be superfluous and with
no value or interest for the community, or simply which no longer corresponds to
the data subject's identity.
16.4 Conclusions
A qualitative and quantitative change in effects resulting from the collection of
personal data arises from information technologies. Therefore, it becomes
essential to balance the ease of collecting and using data with the need to protect
individual's fundamental rights, which take on a particular aspect on the Internet.
The protection of identity, considered in its various aspects (privacy, data
protection, reputation, dignity and freedom) becomes necessary to safeguard the
fundamental interests of every individual 25 .
However, we feel it would be necessary to make changes to the approach to the
issue of protection of fundamental rights. In the world of information it has no to
make a clear distinction between the right to protection of personal data and other
rights, such as the right to reputation, because an individual is the result of a whole
which makes no sense to distinguish sharply. On the contrary, we feel it would be
necessary to adopt an integrated approach focusing on identity, which would be
understood to include several individual components. One of the objectives of
protection of social identity should be to ensure the quality of the information as
outlined in this chapter. In this respect, we hope that the reform of the Directive
At the beginning of 2011 the Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) ordered
Google to remove certain links to pages hosting personal information regarding Spanish
citizens from its results. These are a certain number of pages, most of which are newspaper
articles, containing news which can be interpreted as damaging to the social identity and
reputation of the subjects involved. One particular case stands out: that of Doctor Hugo
Guidotti Russo, a plastic surgeon who in 1991 was involved in a case of medical malpractice
and who is now asking Google to remove the related articles from search results connected
with his name. In January the controversy between Google and the Spanish Authority ended
up in a Madrid Court, where both parties asked the judge to find in favour of the protection of
important rights: the Authority asked for the protection of the right to privacy and the right to
oblivion whereas Google asked for the protection of the right to inform and freedom of
speech. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, during the trial a lawyer representing Google
stated that Spain is the only country where a company is obliged to remove links to web pages
even if these do not contain illegal content of any description. The Spanish Authority replied
that the only way to block access to content is through search engines. This is because
newspapers online have the right to refuse to remove legally published news from their
archives. So, the Madrid Court asked the European Court of Justice for its opinion on the
matter. This Court will now have to establish whether the Spanish Authority's requests are
compatible with Community legislation. The European Court's decision is awaited with
growing interest in Europe in that it may establish a decisive precedent for the future of the
availability of archive information on the Internet: Daley (2011).
Rodotà (2004).
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