An abiding principle that we have operated under until May 13, 2014 was ‘What goes on the internet, stays on the internet.’ But on that date, The Court of Justice of the European Union issued its decision in the case of Mario Costeja González, a citizen of Spain, who argued in the case that personal information discovered in Google search results had ‘been resolved many years ago and was irrelevant’ to current circumstances. Mr. González’ lawsuit sought relief in the form of requiring that Google provide a means by which such results be removed from a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The decision rejected the claim against the original publisher, La Vanguardia, demanding removal of the original story, on the grounds that the story had been published lawfully and accurately as of its original date of publication, January and March 1998.

We have let this story have a few weeks to work itself out in press and media before approaching the topic in #SMXChat. We feel strongly that this is a topic of great significance to every citizen of the internet. We each have something at stake in simultaneously disseminating information while protecting our privacy and reputations online.

1) What is your expectation of protection of personal information published by third parties?

2) How does the internet and social media affect your expectations of protecting privacy and reputation?

3) Is this decision likely to affect how social networks approach ‘processing’ our personal data?

4) Do you think there will be a groundswell of requests to eliminate unflattering, information in search results?

5) Should Google just start abiding by this decision everywhere?

Bonus Q6) Will companies/brands start using this as a reputation management tactic?

Reference resources for this post:

BBC News:

Decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union via
Luxembourg, 13 May 2014: