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The Personal Data Protection Authority Published A Guide On "The Right to be Forgotten (Evaluation of the Right to be Forgotten Specifically Relating To Search Engines)".
ith the guide relating to the right to be forgotten (“the Guide”) it has been intended to clarify the exercise of the right to be forgotten before the search engines within the framework of the Decision of the Personal Data Protection Board (“Board”) dated 23/06/2020 and numbered 2020/481 regarding the requests of data subjects to remove their names and surnames and the results of searches made through search engines from the index..
Melodi Özer | ASSOCIATE25.10.2021
With the guide relating to the right to be forgotten (“the Guide”) it has been intended to clarify the exercise of the right to be forgotten before the search engines within the framework of the Decision of the Personal Data Protection Board (“Board”) dated 23/06/2020 and numbered 2020/481 regarding the requests of data subjects to remove their names and surnames and the results of searches made through search engines from the index..
The relevant guide initially explains the right to be forgotten and its development and the status of the right to be forgotten in international and national law. Subsequently, the methods of claiming the right to be forgotten of the data subject are explained in detail.
In Scope of the Law on Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 (“PDP LAW”)
The Authority considers the right to be forgotten as a superior concept that includes many rights and has stated that in order to establish this right and fulfill its requirements; there are many tools that can be determined according to each case, such as “deletion”, “destroying or anonymizing” and “de-indexing”.
Along with this, in terms of requests regarding the use of the right to be forgotten and the status of search engines before the PDP Law and in this context; the Personal Data Protection Board (“Board”), has determined the procedures and principles regarding how the data subjects will use their rights and whether or not the data subject is obliged to remove the links in the results that appear when the name and surname are typed into the search engine. In accordance with this;
- Requests for the establishment of the right to be forgotten by the data subjects; can be claimed within the scope of data processing conditions or can also be claimed regarding the contents processed and spread by third parties without any data processing condition.
- It is possible to exercise this right only by the person whose personal data is processed, and not by third parties who are not the data subject.
- It is possible for the data subjects to request from the search engines to remove the links related to their personal data from the search results, under certain conditions such as the data being inaccurate, unsuitable, irrelevant or disproportionate to the purpose of data processing.
- In this context, since the right to be forgotten is not an absolute right that can be asserted under all circumstances, but an "exceptional right"; a decision is made by evaluating within the framework of criteria specific to each case.
Another issue that should be emphasized in terms of the decision taken within the scope of the right to be forgotten regarding the removal of search results from the index is that the access to the data on the Internet within the framework of this right is not completely blocked.
- It is possible to access the relevant content in the results that appear when the search engines are searched with different words related to the subject.
- Therefore, the fact that a search result is partially unlinked at the request of the person concerned does not mean that the published content will not be accessed in any way, and the aforementioned data can be accessed through searches made with different combinations or directly from the source.
- On the other hand, as a result of the evaluations made by the Board, search engines are obliged to remove the results that are published by third parties on the internet and that contain information about the data subjects and that come up with the searches made with the names and surnames of the data subjects.
Criteria to be Considered in the Evaluation by the Personal Data Protection Board regarding the Exclusion of the Names and Surnames of Persons and the Results of Searches Made on Search Engines
The Guide also includes the criteria to be taken into account in the Board's evaluation regarding the removal of the names and surnames of individuals and the results obtained from searches made through search engines from the index. It has been stated that these criteria are the criteria included in the annex of the Board's Decision dated 23/06/2020 and numbered 2020/481 and to be examined on the basis of each concrete case:
These criteria are;
- The data subject plays an important role in public life
- The subject of the search results is a child
- The accuracy of the content of the information
- Relevance of knowledge to one's working life
- The information has the nature of insulting, defamatory, slanderous about the data subject
- The fact that the information is a special quality personal data
- The currency of the information
- Information causing prejudice about the person
- Information poses a risk to the person
- The state of publishing the information by the person himself
- Covering the data processed within the scope of the journalistic activity of the content
- Legal obligation to publish information
- The information relates to a criminal offense
Lastly, the methods of claiming rights of the data subject are mentioned in the Guide, and the method of application of the data subject to the data controller and the method of complaint to the Personal Data Protection Board are explained in detail.