Facebook will discuss ‘right to be forgotten’ with German regulators

Facebook has been drawn into the debate over the "right to be forgotten" as the social networking site will meet with a German data protection regulator to discuss jurisdictional issues raised by a European court ruling.

The ruling, in addition to creating the ability for individuals to seek the deletion of links to personal data, gives national data regulators more authority over companies based outside their borders, said Johannes Caspar, head of the data protection office in Hamburg. Facebook will meet to discuss the ruling by the European Court of Justice as soon as next month, he said.

Facebook, which has its EU headquarters in Dublin and is primarily overseen by Ireland on European data protection issues, has clashed with German regulators over who can force the company to change policies. The Menlo Park, California-based company scored repeated victories in German courts that backed its stand that only the Irish regulator could supervise it.

The primary response to the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling by the EU court has been the developments of standards for individuals to ask companies to delete links from search-engine results.

National regulators from around Europe are to meet with Google, Microsoft and other search-engine providers tomorrow to discuss the EU ruling.

“Facebook tried to find a way to escape national regulators and succeeded in that for a while,” Caspar said.

“But the European Court of Justice’s ruling on Google in May made it clear that the national regulation on data protection is applicable whenever an internet provider has an active unit in that country.”

Robert Ardelt, a spokesman for Facebook in Germany, said the company is in close contact with national and international regulators.


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