EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: updated opinion on applicable law in light of Google Spain ("right to be forgotten") judgment

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"In its judgement in Google Spain the Court of Justice of the European Union ('CJEU') found that the processing of personal data in question by the search engine operated by Google Inc., a US-based controller, was 'inextricably linked to', and therefore was carried out 'in the context of the activities' of Google's establishment in Spain, considering that the advertising and commercial activities of the Spanish subsidiary constituted the 'means of rendering the search engine economically profitable'. On these grounds, the CJEU concluded that Spanish law applied to the processing in question.

The implications of the judgement are broader than merely determining applicable law in relation to the operation of the Google search engine in Spain."

The opinion notes that the Google Spain judgment "confirms the broad territorial reach of Article 4(1)(a) of Directive 95/46/EC," raises the question of whether "companies having a designated 'EU headquarters'... need only to comply with one national law within the EU or also with the laws of other EU Member States in which they may also have a 'relevant' establishment," and that the judgment "does not by any means exclude the possibility of controllers having no establishment of any sort within the EU being subject to EU data protection requirements."

See: Update of Opinion 8/2010 on applicable law in light of the CJEU judgement in Google Spain (pdf)

Background: DATA SURVEILLANCE: EU court backs 'right to be forgotten': Google must amend results on request (Statewatch News Online, May 2014) and Article 29 Working Party: Opinion 8/2010 on applicable law (December 2010, pdf)

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