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GC and Others v CNIL on the Responsibility of Search Engine Operators for Referring to Sensitive Data: The End of ‘Right to be Forgotten’ Balancing?

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/edpl/2019/3/21

Claudia Quelle


Case C-136/17 GC and Others v CNIL, Opinion of Advocate General Szpunar of 10 January 2019
With GC and Others, the myth that Google’s controllership leads to absurd consequences is finally put to the test. Advocate General Szpunar opines on the responsibility of search engine operators to abide by the prohibitions on the processing of sensitive data under Article 8 of the Data Protection Directive. Should search engine operators systematically remove links to sensitive data in an ex ante fashion so as to comply with this provision? The Advocate General proposes to see Article 8(1) as a relatively categorical prohibition that should be respected, but only after it has been invoked by the data subject. The prohibition is limited by the exceptions in Article 8 as well as by the journalistic exception. The Advocate General’s approach hits the mark without being overly onerous or overly vague. It provides a welcome alternative to the Charter-based balancing act that a full application of Google Spain would require.
- Articles 8(1), 8(5) and 9 of Directive 95/46 (Data Protection Directive)

Claudia Quelle, PhD researcher, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. For correspondence: <mailto:c.quelle@tilburguniversity.edu>.

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