The Data Protection Authority (GBA) has fined Google Belgium €600,000 for failing to comply with a citizen’s right to be forgotten. It is the highest fine imposed by the authority to date, she said on Tuesday.
Google has received a request from someone “who, because of its function, plays a role in public life in Belgium” to remove the search results associated with its name from the search engine. In particular, they were indications of possible links to a political party and references to a bullying complaint that had long been declared unfounded.
Google refused to delete the search results. According to the JA arbitrator, this was justified in view of possible links with a political party. But the references to the bullying complaint should have been removed by Google. “Since the allegations against the complainant have not been proven, are old and can have serious consequences for the complainant, the rights and interests of the data subject should take precedence,” the JCC concludes. She also called Google “particularly negligent” because it had “evidence that the facts were irrelevant and outdated.”
The fine is more than ten times higher than the GBA’s highest fine to date (€50,000).