Do I still have the right to be forgotten since Brexit?

Judith Thompson  10-08-2021

The right to be forgotten, is a right for individuals to have material removed from a search of their name by internet search engines, if the information which appears in the search result is irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate. This right arises from a 2014 decision of the European Courts of Justice.

The ECJ’s ruling was applicable throughout the European Union meaning that it applied to search results on, and all other iterations of Google throughout the European Union.

Prior to Brexit, there was some confusion and uncertainty about whether or not the right to be forgotten would continue to apply to British citizens, once Britain exited the European Union.

Britain’s exit from the European Union completed on 31 January 2020. Since then, Google and other search engines have continued to accept applications for the right to be forgotten and so it appears that at present, there has been no adverse effect upon the right to be forgotten as a result of Brexit.

Whether this changes in the future remains to be seen, and so if you are considering making an application to Google or another search engine for the right to be forgotten, our recommendation is that the application should be made as quickly as possible

We can help you draft an application to the relevant search engine, and to submit it within a very short time frame, usually within two or three days of you providing us with everything that we need. The search engines tend to come back within days or weeks (rather than months or year, which would be the case if the courts were involved).

There does seem to be some change if your application is unsuccessful. In those circumstances, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Since Brexit, the ICO will only deal with appeals from British citizens. This means that if you live outside the jurisdiction of the ICO, the appeal would need to be submitted to the relevant authority in the EU country in which you live.

If you are considering making such an application for the right to be forgotten do not delay. Get in contact with us today to find out how we can assist.

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