Right-to-be-forgotten 'dashboard' to help EU's data protection authorities

The complaints should be dealt with in a common way, the authorities said

An electronic case-handling dashboard and a network of specialists will be created to help EU data protection authorities deal with complaints filed by people whose requests to delete search results based on a recent "right-to-be-forgotten" ruling is denied.

The authorities decided to create such a dashboard during a plenary meeting of the Article 29 Working Party (WP29), which is composed of representatives from EU's national data protection authorities. At the meeting, the authorities discussed the impact of a May ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that gave people the right to compel search engines to remove search results in Europe for queries that include their names if the results are "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive."

"During the summer, European data protection authorities have received complaints as a result of search engines' refusals to de-list complainants from their results," the WP29 said, adding that the complaints illustrated that the ruling "has addressed a genuine demand for data protection."

To deal with these complaints, it is necessary to have a coordinated and consistent approach, the WP29 authorities said. "Therefore, it was decided to put in place a network of dedicated contact persons in order to develop common case-handling criteria to handle complaints by the data protection authorities," the WP29 said.

This network of people will provide the authorities with a record of decisions taken on complaints. The data will be fed into what the WP29 calls a "dashboard," to help identify cases with similar issues and develop common approach to them,.

During the plenary meeting that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the data protection authorities also stressed that "as data controllers, the search engines must meet their obligations with respect to the CJEU ruling, acknowledging the right to be 'de-listed'."

This is bad news for Google, which had received more than 100,000 "right-to-be-forgotten" requests by Sept. 9. The search engine operator is currently touring Europe to discuss the ruling with experts, asking them mainly if they think Google should be responsible for the take downs. Meanwhile, Google has started to implement the ruling itself.

Google's initiative has been described as a "PR war" by WP29 Chairman Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, who contended that Google is trying to shape the debate by selecting who is in the audience and controlling what comes out of the meetings.

The WP29 will continue to analyze how search engines are complying with the ruling and said that it had also met with media companies on the sidelines of the plenary meeting.

The authorities already discussed the ruling with search engines in July, and is preparing guidelines to ensure a consistent implementation of the take-down ruling on the part of search-engine providers.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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