Will Brexit Affect the Right to be Forgotten?

28-10-2019

judith thompson partner solicitor right to be forgotten google

There will be a number of uncertainties if and when the UK finally leaves the EU and one interesting area, which has not been considered in any detail, is how Brexit will impact the ‘Right to be Forgotten’.

The Right to be Forgotten allows citizens of the European Union to apply to Google to block results from a search of their name. Google has been obliged to block results where they were irrelevant, outdated or otherwise inappropriate. Other search engines including Bing and Yahoo have Right to be Forgotten procedures, but Google is by far the most widely used search engine in the UK. 

Since 2014, Google has received over 655,000 Right to be Forgotten applications and accepted just over 40% of those applications.

The Right to be Forgotten was established by the European Court of Justice and comes under article 17 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). So, the questions is, will UK citizens still have the Right to be Forgotten post-Brexit?

The good news is that the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 will retain the GDPR within the UK. This act came into force on the 26 June 2018 and confirms that all GDPR rights will continue to exist in the UK even once we have left the EU.

This means that it is very likely that UK citizens will still have the Right to be Forgotten within the UK for any links that appear on Google UK when their name is searched.

Judith Thompson, partner with responsibility for reputation management issues at Samuels Solicitors, says: "It seems likely that the Right to be Forgotten will survive Brexit, but whether it survives unchanged remains to be seen. At present, a successful application blocks unwanted search results throughout the whole of the UK, and whether the scope of the Right to be Forgotten will change for UK citizens after Brexit stills need to be tested"

If you have unwanted results appearing in a search of your name, we can help you with an application for the Right to be Forgotten, for a low fixed fee. If you have already tried making an application to Google or another search engine, which has been unsuccessful, we can assist you with an appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Contact us today for a discussion about how we can assist you.

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