What Is The 'Right To Be Forgotten'?

Dave Lee | BBC News | May 13, 2014

Sixteen years ago, a Spaniard named Mario Costeja Gonzalez had hit financial difficulties.

To solve them, a property of his was put up for auction - the details of which were covered in a newspaper, which subsequently went online. The auction happened in 1998, and with those troubles now behind him, Mr Gonzalez is keen to move on.

But there's a problem: whenever you search for his name, news about the auction still features prominently. He argued that this continued to damage his reputation, and should be removed from Google's search results. On Tuesday, the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union agreed with him, and in doing so set a major precedent over what is referred to as the "right to be forgotten".

What is the 'right to be forgotten'?

The internet (almost) never forgets. Google - and other search engines - are extremely efficient at crawling the web to find and store data. Even if websites are taken offline, a cache is kept - meaning they can still be accessed...