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The CJEU’s latest decision on the right to control your own data

  • Briefing

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, 5 June 2014

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Event fully booked!


The Law Societies Joint Brussels Office
Avenue des Nerviens 85, 5th floor, 1040 Brussels

The disclosures made by Edward Snowden and the subsequent NSA spying scandal about mass State-sanctioned surveillance programmes monitoring vast quantities of personal data shook Europe and raised individual privacy and data protection to the top of the political agenda.
In recent months, two rulings by the Court of Justice of the European Union have shown that it is also sensitive to the issue. The judgment in Digital Rights Ireland and others (joined cases C-293/12 and C-594/12) signalled the death knell for “just in case” data retention, with the Luxembourg Court fulfilling its role as the guardian of the rights enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in situations involving personal privacy and the processing of personal data.
In its Google Spain judgment (case C-131/12) the Court declined to follow the opinion of its Advocate General and ruled in favour of the existence of a ‘right to be forgotten’. To some, this ruling is a landmark victory for fundamental rights over the commercial interests of an aggressive multinational company. To others, the Court's ruling is yet another indication that the current EU data protection regime dating back to 1995 is ill-suited to the digital age. In any case, the Google Spain case is likely to have an immense impact on the ongoing reform of the EU data protection regime in the form of a General Data Protection Regulation.

The Court ruling in Google Spain raises several important questions

  • What is the “tangible” implication of the ruling?
  • Could such a decision be enforced by an EU or national data protection authority?
  • What to expect in the future; adapt the Data Protection Directive to the reality of internet the internet to the Directive?
  • What – if any –change will the new ruling imply for the proposed General Data Protection Regulation?


  • Anna Buchta, Head of Litigation and Legislative Policy, European Data Protection Supervisor, Brussels
  • Gloria González Fuster, Researcher, Research Group on Law, Science, Technology & Society, Free University Brussels (VUB)
  • Marisa Jimenez, Government Affairs and Policy Senior Counsel, Google Brussels
  • Christopher Kuner, Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Brussels
  • Joe McNamee, Executive Director, European Digital Rights, Brussels

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(including documentation and refreshments): € 50
EU officials, members of the “Friends of ERA” association: No fee

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