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ISBA labels ECJ ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling an ‘empty gesture’

Advertising trade body ISBA has labelled the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling an “empty gesture”, and has backed the House of Lords’ dismissal of the verdict.

The ruling, enforced by the ECJ in May, requires search engines to remove links deemed to be “irrelevant” information.

Google has since been receiving thousands of applications for removals, having set up a web form through which people can submit requests for references to them to be expunged. Bing and Yahoo have now followed suit and established their own web forms.

However, earlier today it emerged that a House of Lords committee deemed the ruling “unworkable”, a view that ISBA has supported, adding that the verdict is “impractical”.

Ian Twinn, ISBA’s director of public affairs, said: “The issue of individual privacy raises serious concerns, but the ECJ ruling was never more than an empty gesture to allay these concerns.

"We have said from the beginning that implementing a 'right to be forgotten' on request was an implausible and impractical idea which would cost businesses dearly, forcing them to comply with potentially untenable requests or else face substantial fines.

“We are pleased that the House of Lords has come to a similar conclusion and agree with industry that this is a good example of a fundamentally flawed EU ruling.

“Lady Prashar’s point that the directive is now hopelessly outdated is particularly salient, and quite how EU political boundaries can be applied in all seriousness to the world wide web in itself is unclear. The clue is in the title.”

Google alone has received over 70,000 take down requests since the ruling was made in May.

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