Evropský sbor pro ochranu osobních údajů

Belgian DPA imposes €600.000 fine on Google Belgium for not respecting the right to be forgotten of a Belgian citizen, and for lack of transparency in its request form to delist

Thursday, 16 July, 2020

The Belgian DPA just imposed a €600.000 fine on Google Belgium for not respecting the right to be forgotten of a Belgian citizen, and for lack of transparency in its request form to delist.

A Belgian citizen had requested the removal of links containing negative information about him. The request was refused by Google.

The Litigation Chamber of the Belgian DPA found that some of those links were needed for public interest and should not be removed: the citizen plays indeed a role in public life and the links concerned a presumed relation with a political party. The other links contained information that was outdated, unsubstantiated and could seriously damage the reputation of the citizen. The Belgian DPA considers that those links should have therefore been delisted by Google. For the Belgian DPA it is important to note that the facts of the case were clear, leaving Google no reasonable room to decide otherwise.   

What’s more, Google lacked transparency in their delisting form, as well as in their response to the data subject.

For these reasons, the Belgian DPA decided to impose a fine of €600.000. This is the highest fine ever imposed by the Belgian DPA.

The Belgian DPA considers to be competent in this case, including because Google argued that their main establishment in Europe (Google Ireland) was not responsible for delisting activities. The decision contains a detailed explanation of the responsibilities of the various establishments of Google.    

The decision (currently only in French) is available here.

For further information, please contact the Belgian DPA: contact@apd-gba.be 

The press release published here does not constitute official EDPB communication, nor an EDPB endorsement. This press release was originally published by the national supervisory authority and was published here at the request of the SA for information purposes. As the press release is represented here as it appeared on the SA's website or other channels of communication, the news item is only available in English or in the Member State's official language with a short introduction in English. Any questions regarding this press release should be directed to the supervisory authority concerned.