Senior Brazilian Court Says 'Right To Be Forgotten' Cannot Be Imposed On Search Engines

from the memorable-ruling dept

Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice (STJ), the highest court for non-constitutional questions of federal law, has ruled that the “right to be forgotten” — strictly speaking, the right to be delisted from search results — cannot be imposed upon Google or other search engines. As a post on Global Voices explains:

According to judiciary rapporteur Nancy Andrighi, the ruling stated that forcing search engines to adjudicate removal requests and remove certain links from search results would give too much responsibility to search engines, effectively making them into digital censors.

We don’t know the details of the case, which was held “under secrecy of justice” according to the article. But the Global Voices post points out that there’s another important “right to be forgotten” decision coming up in Brazil, this time from the country’s top court:

Brazil’s Supreme Court — which is a higher court than the STJ — will soon hear a different case on the right to be forgotten involving TV Globo, Brazil’s largest TV network. The case is brought by relatives of Aida Cury, an 18-year-old girl who was brutally raped and assassinated in 1958, in a case that was never resolved. In 2008 TV Globo broadcasted a story on the case. The relatives sued the network, arguing that the story ‘unearthed a painful time for the family’ and their lawyers invoked the thesis of the “right to be forgotten”.

If Brazil’s Supreme Court joins the STJ in refusing to acknowledge a “right to be forgotten” here, this would place the country at odds with South Korea, which has decided to follow the EU in introducing this new right. If nothing else, that discrepancy would demonstrate that it is not a foregone conclusion that other jurisdictions will adopt this particular European innovation.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Comments on “Senior Brazilian Court Says 'Right To Be Forgotten' Cannot Be Imposed On Search Engines”

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Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: tactical clothing usa

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Let’s just add this to the lexicon.

TheResidentSkeptic says:

Catch-22 lives!

So, if they de-list something, but don’t do it globally, France or Spain or someone else fines them; if they do de-list it globally, Brazil (and others who follow this rule) fines them…

The end result being that if Google does “nothing”, then 1/2 the world’s countries will fine them; if they do “something”, then the other 1/2 will fine them… 1/2 of 195 countries fining 4% of their global income, each event will cost 390% of their annual revenue. They should go broke fairly quickly. Which, of course, is the goal.

John David Galt (profile) says:

Re: Catch-22 lives!

If those are really the laws, search engines will have to divide themselves into two groups: one that enforces the RTBF (and cannot be viewed from Brazil), and a second that allows messages to stay in its database indefinitely (and cannot be viewed from Europe or South Korea).

I think I will stick to search engines in the second group, since they will be more useful to the person searching (especially when doing historical research, a right I would like to preserve and which conflicts with the RTBF).

I also expect that situations like this one will increase the usefulness of VPNs and bring them more subscribers, until governments figure out that the net community is smarter and more agile than they can ever be.

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