The European Court of Justice [official website] ruled [judgment] Thursday that individuals cannot demand that their personal data be erased from company records. The court said the ruling came from the public need for legal certainty to protect third party interests. The registers hold very little personal data and do not infringe on privacy. The court reserved its right to assess specific circumstances under which company registers should be limited on an individual basis. The case was brought by Italy due to their loss of a case over compensation to a man whose properties had failed to sell because a bankruptcy he filed was kept on record at Lecce Chamber of Commerce [official website]. In May 2014 the EU court ruled that individuals could request that irrelevant information be removed in the search results from search engines like Google and Bing [corporate websites].
Data collection, government surveillance and digital privacy laws [JURIST backgrounder] continue to be a contentious issue worldwide since Edward Snowden [BBC profile] revealed [JURIST report] the scale of bulk data collection in the US and the UK in 2013. Earlier this week the UN condemned [JURIST report] modern-day surveillance laws. In January a UK advocacy group challenged [JURIST report] the Investigatory Powers Act [PDF], which allows the UK government to record the Internet history of every citizen for up to a year. A month earlier the European Court of Justice [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that “[g]eneral and indiscriminate retention” of e-mails and other electronic communications by governments is illegal. In October a UN expert on free expression said claims that Yahoo allowed the US government to search hundreds of millions of consumer e-mails “raise serious human rights concerns” [JURIST report]. In January 2016 the Ontario Superior Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that police orders requiring telecommunications companies to hand over cellphone user data breached the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms [text].