Between the right to know and the right to forget: looking beyond the Google case


  • Irma Spahiu Osgoode Hall Law School, York University


Recently, the EU has demonstrated determination to safeguard the privacy of its citizens concerned with online exposure of their data on the Internet. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) addressed this concern in a decision against the Internet giant, Google. In this article, this case is placed in the context of a larger debate relating to the ‘right to be forgotten’ and the ‘right to know’. The article argues that the case is not about the victory of privacy rights over the right to know, but rather the upholding of private interest protection when the public interest is absent. Even though in this case the CJEU ruled in favour of the right to be forgotten, it has not dismissed the right to know- it provides safeguards to protect public information from being undermined. The article focuses on the weighing of human rights and the implication for the future of privacy rights and the right to know in the EU. The case is a reminder of the value and the ownership of information in society and educates citizens and companies on how to behave in a digital world. It brings the protection of personal data to a whole new level and may affect the future regulation of Internet companies.

Key words:  Right to be forgotten, privacy, data protection, information rights, human rights, search engines, the Internet  

Author Biography

Irma Spahiu, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Legal Instructor and PhD Candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School






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