The Case Of Mario Costeja: The Starting Point Of The Right To Be Forgotten

The Right to be Forgotten was born in 2014, following the European Union Court of Justice sentence. analyzes, in-depth, the case that gave rise to this legislation.

Our team explains in detail what Mario Costeja González’s removal request was.

His process led to creating regulations for the protection of personal data.

His case will be explained step by step in the following text, with the repercussions and consequences.

Who is Mario Costeja González?

The name of Mario Costeja González appears in the identification of the parties to the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which is at the origin of the Right to be Forgotten.

Costeja is an expert in judicial calligraphy and non-verbal communication.

Unintentionally, Mario Costeja is a crucial figure in applying the Right to be Forgotten.

Since users can use it, according to Google’s transparency report, the search engine has received 1,246,622 requests for removal.

Who is Mario Costeja González RighttobeForgottenGDPR

The publication of La Vanguardia

In 1998, in its printed edition, La Vanguardia published two announcements relating to an auction of properties owned by Costeja resulting from a seizure for some debts with the Social Security.

With the digitization of the newspaper, Google has indexed his first and last name in these ads.

The publication of La Vanguardia RighttobeForgottenGDPR

Communication with the newspaper and with Google

In 2009, Mario Costeja contacted La Vanguardia, which did not accept his request for removal because the announcement was published at the request of the Ministry of Labor.

For this reason, Costeja contacted Google Spain, which forwarded the case to Google Inc. with its registered office in California. 

Still, it was about the same company that provides the Internet search service.

The lawyer has waged an unprecedented battle against the web giant.

The motivation of the AEPD

Mario Costeja’s defense contacted the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) to request that the information be withdrawn from publication.

The agency defended the newspaper because it understood that the publication of the data had a legal justification.

On the other hand, the entity opposed the presence in the search engine of links referring to personal data.

The AEPD requested Google Spain SL. and Google Inc. to take the necessary measures.

Google later appealed to the National Court.

The Spanish court has sent some legal questions to the European Court to resolve the case definitively.

The goal: to erase the past

In 2013, in an interview with the newspaper El País, Costeja asked for the exercise of the Right to be Forgotten:

“Everything was fixed and paid for years ago, I have since divorced, but I am still in debt and married, according to Google.

What worries me is that there is a right to remove something about your past from the Internet that, despite being resolved, haunts you.

After serving his sentence, an inmate is exonerated from responsibility, but on Google, he continues to be guilty throughout his life.”

Costeja stated that his case had been solved and was irrelevant.

Google, throughout the process, took refuge behind two positions: the company’s headquarters and freedom of expression.

The judgement of the European Court

The judgment of the European Union Court of Justice in favor of Mario Costeja marked a before and after in the protection of personal data jurisprudence.

Since 2014, citizens have taken advantage of the Right to be Forgotten to de-index links from the search engine.

In this sense, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was born, regulating privacy and the Right to be forgotten.

EU Regulation 2016/679 establishes that:

“The protection of natural persons in relation to the processing of personal data is a fundamental right.”

Mario Costeja’s trial was an example for others, such as the Lazic vs. The Washington Post.

What content does Google withdraw?

According to Google support, the most common factors for removing a web page are:

  • The evident absence of public interest, such as pages that are no longer online (404 error);
  • Sensitive information, such as health, political affiliation, religion, etc .;
  • Remove images of minors;
  • Convictions or prescribed acts, acquittals, and acquittals.

Users must enter their identification data and submit the links they wish to remove.

Google, Yahoo, or Bing have forms to submit your application online.

Based on its parameters, the search engine decides which links are removed, as indicated by the sentence.

“It is necessary to carry out a weighting, on a case-by-case basis, to achieve the balance between rights and interests.”

In exercising the Right to be Forgotten, the GDPR provides exceptions for the content that:

  • Guarantees freedom of expression;
  • Respect legal obligations;
  • It is in the public interest;
  • Has a scientific, statistical, or historical objective;
  • It represents a complaint.

The legislation provides that the right to privacy prevails over the right to information.

How to start the Right to be Forgotten process?

The case of Mario Costeja represents a milestone in the field of privacy and data protection.

Since 2014, European users have been able to request the removal of links from search engines.

Google and other companies offer online forms to communicate the corresponding data.

Likewise, is at your disposal to eliminate all negative links.

The team offers a professional consultancy, application, and follow-up service in the Right to be Forgotten procedures.

Indicate which link, image, or video damages your image, and our staff will contact you to protect your online reputation, applying the current legislation.

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