Hogan Lovells secures right to be forgotten win for Google before Italian Supreme Court

Milan, 23 July 2021 - Global law firm Hogan Lovells has secured an important victory for Google before the Italian Supreme Court on the ‘right to be forgotten’. This follows a previous ruling of the Italian Court that obliged the company to remove all search results relating to a priest involved in paedophilia.

With an order published on 21 July 2021, the Italian Supreme Court upheld the appeal filed by Google and reaffirmed the principle that the ‘right to be forgotten’ must balance the right to privacy with the public right of access to information and the right of press freedom.

The Supreme Court reviewed the links provided by the complainant and reaffirmed that in this case the search results didn’t need to be de-listed by Google. The ruling is significant because it emphasises that an individual’s right to control access to information should not outweigh the public’s right to receive and impart important information.

In handing down its judgment, the Court cited guidance from the European Courts of Justice on the role of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) , the "Safe Harbour" privacy regime and other recent data protection legislation, such as the GDPR.

"This judgment - comments Massimiliano Masnada, partner at Hogan Lovells advising Google - clarifies that Google does not necessarily have to accept all ‘right to be forgotten’ requests it receives. Instead, it must first evaluate each specific request and then decide how to strike the right balance between privacy and the public right to availability of information on the search engine, in accordance with the law and jurisprudence".

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