Irish Case highlights different tiers of responsibilities regarding RtbF implementation

The Irish Times recently reported that: “Google has refused to remove search results that show the names of newly naturalised Irish citizens in the State’s official gazette, because of the Government’s “ongoing choice” to make the information public.

Indeed, after the individuals approached the Irish DP Commissioner, the latter stated that the publication of information is mandated by a 1956 law.

Shortly after the Irish Times reported about these issues, the official government website publishing the names made a technical change, in order to prevent the listing by Search Engines (while still maintaining the actual content).

The overlap with both the Google Spain Case and the still pending Manni Case is striking and demonstrates a broader issue. Though search engines clearly have some responsibility in the delisting process, this seems the right time for regulators and official public registers to proactively reassess their – often decades-old – publication/divulgation policies.

The divulgation or removal of information should not be seen as a binary, nor can responsibilities in this regard simply be imposed on one entity exclusively.

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