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The court is looking to figure out whether Google is the "controller" of search results or just the "host"

Google has been under the microscope in Europe due to privacy issues many times, and now it will attempt to defend itself once again in an ongoing case in Spain.

A Spanish man filed a complaint against Google over a year ago regarding sensitive information he uncovered about himself in a Google search. After searching his name in Google's search engine, he found a newspaper announcement from several years prior, which revealed that a property he once owned was up for auction because he failed to pay social security contributions.

The man felt Google should have to delete this private information from search results, and the Audiencia Nacional (a top court in Spain) ruled that the information should indeed be removed. However, Google challenged the ruling, saying that this opens up Pandora's Box allowing any information a user doesn't find suitable to possibly be challenged and deleted.

The case was referred to the Court of Justice in March 2012.


Now, Google will have the chance to defend its reasoning before Spain's data protection authority and Europe's highest court this week. The court is looking to figure out whether Google is the "controller" of search results or just the "host." Also, it hopes to determine if Google can be subject to EU privacy laws if it's based in California.

Google has had other privacy problems in Europe lately. Last year, Google consolidated 60 privacy policies into one -- allowing the company to combine user data across several services like Gmail, YouTube and Google+. This strategy is especially useful when selling advertisements. However, European data regulators demanded that Google change its privacy policy by this summer because it puts users at "high risk."

Google is also in the midst of antitrust issues in Europe.
Earlier last month, Google managed to escape a nearly two-year U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation without paying any fines, but the EU said it didn't plan on going easy on Google the way he FTC did. Joaquin Almunia, Europe's antitrust chief, recently said that Google is providing search results that promote its own services instead of fairly showing those of competitors.

Source: Reuters





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