The Right To Oblivion: A Violated Right

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The right to oblivion: a violated right


It is the power we have to request the elimination of our personal information for being obsolete or for a violation of our fundamental rights. This is collected in art. 17 of the 2016/679 Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council: “The interested party will have the right to obtain without improper delay of the person responsible for the treatment of the personal data that concern him, which will be obliged to suppress without improper delay the personal data whenconcurs some of the following circumstances ".

Such right even though it is not expressly mentioned in the Constitution affects several fundamental rights such as the right to honor, the image itself, etc.

Right to oblivion and internet

The development of Communication and Internet technologies have involved an immeasurable advance in data and new front, opening a new front to guarantee the right to oblivion. In the analog era, the complications were not so many, for example, if someone took a photo could at any time eliminate it permanently, however, today, in which we can call the digital age in case of taking that same photo andPublish it in a web portal, the possibilities of erase their entire trace are very difficult, escaping control over this.

The interest and awareness of individuals is increasing. Also, we can see a strong interest in preventing all their data from appearing with the simple search for a person.

This is not limited only to social networks, it goes further, such as the data published on the Internet on the sanctions imposed, fines, on inquiries, etc. Extreme intimacy information of the people to whom it can be accessed without any difficulty.

The consequences of the lack of control of the existing data on the network are more than obvious, many are known cases that, by finding a photo, a tweet or an old video someone has been fired or had to give up their job.

Right to oblivion and data protection

There is a strong link between both subjects. The Spanish Constitution establishes in its article 18.4 that: “The law will limit the use of computer science to guarantee the personal and family and family intimacy of citizens and the full exercise of their rights."Therefore, we see as the right to personal and family honor and intimacy are placed in a step superior to freedom in the use of computer science, provided the appropriate regulatory apparatus.

The development of the right to data protection has been consolidated through repeated sentences of the Constitutional Court such as Judgment 254/1993 of July 20 and Judgment 292/2000 of November 30.

Limits of the right to oblivion

No right is absolute and this is not an exceptional case, we can that when executing this right, it has been encountered that with certain limits that have stopped it. Among others we highlight:

  • Cases where there is a prior contractual relationship, that is, that consent has been given. It should be said that in the event that the affected person was a minor the situation in case that data, a photo, for example, impair or harm the child in question.
  • Anonymous data when the author of the data is ignored.
  • Practical difficulties affect those data that present technical difficulties for the elimination of the aforementioned data.


The Judgment of the TJUE of May 13, 2014

When talking about the right to oblivion, it would be a mistake not to comment on one of the sentences that this matter has most marked. The Court of Justice of the European Union establishes from this sentence a clear regime of clear responsibilities of web search engines in relation to data protection, solving the situation of useful and helplessness of users.

The origin of this sentence is based on a demand from the Spanish Agency for Data Protection against Google. The problem is born from the situation of the Costeja that, following an embargo, harming him in his subsequent legal businesses, despite having paid the debt.

From this judgment we can stake:

  • Users have the right to request the search engine, for example, Google or Bing, the elimination of references that affects them.
  • The activity of the search engines is responsible for the processing of personal data that receives and stores.
  • The right to data protection prevails over the economic interest of companies, unless the interested party has public relevance.


This last appreciation occurs because that group of people who, due to their work or social position.

One of the most discussed issues was the obligation of search engines to recognize the right to oblivion. For the exercise of this right, the individual had to address the company to cease the propagation of their personal data. But, Google was very reluctant to recognize those affected by this right.  

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