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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Now Damages for Searches Revealing Good Memories About Bad Memories

A hat-tip to Miquel Peguera of Stanford for his analysis of a recent Spanish case in which Google Spain SL was ordered to pay compensation to one Sr Domingo for the 10 months it took to prevent access to certain information about him as ordered by the Spanish Data Protection Authority. The case arose from a claim for damages by Sr Domingo under the Spanish equivalent of section 13 of the UK's Data Protection Act 1998.
 
As in the recent González case in the European Court, the 'bad' information being linked to had been published by law. In fact, in this case the material was a Royal Decree granting a pardon for a previous criminal conviction for violating health regulations. The problem appears to be that the pardon (naturally) referred to the conviction for which the pardon was granted.
 
I'm really struggling here, I must say. 
 
Is there no public interest in being able to locate Royal Decrees generally through search engines?
 
If it is somehow wrong to reveal the details of a pardon, why doesn't the State remove the details of both the previous criminal proceedings and the pardon, so that none of the details are available for search engines - or anyone else - to find?
 
If the pardon and previous conviction must remain a matter of public record, isn't the pardon actually good news?

Maybe the appeals court will make sense of all this. But I'm not holding my breath.