Court of Justice of the EU Restricts the "Right to be Forgotten"

In a landmark decision, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held that “the right to be forgotten” does not automatically apply to content published on an official public registry. The decision was given on a claim asserted by an Italian citizen against the Lecce Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Italy. The Chamber rejected his request to remove information linking him to a company that went bankrupt 25 years ago. The plaintiff sought damages, asserting that the information being kept on record is harmful to his efforts to sell his real estate properties.

The CJEU held that under the EU Data Protection Directive, EU member states can empower public authorities to decide, on a case to case basis, whether or not to remove outdated information from official public registries. The court emphasized that reliance on information kept in public registries is important to enable any person wishing to engage in commercial relations or transaction to easily obtain essential information relating to the incorporation and dissolution of companies. Therefore, the court held that the Italian Chamber of Commerce’s refusal to remove the information was permissible under law.

CLICK HERE to read the CJEU’s judgment.