Online Reputation Management could get a whole lot easier for PR and communications professionals after a landmark ruling by European Courts on Tuesday has given individuals the right to control personal data on search engines.
The European Commission is considering a formal ‘right to be forgotten’ law following the court battle which granted a complainant the right to delete some personal data from Google.
The European Court of Justice court ruled that individuals should be able to request ‘irrelevant or incorrect’ personal information to be taken down from search engines.
The case has sparked a debate on online censorship and privacy laws across mainstream and social media.
A Cision social media analysis found that the case has been a hot topic of discussion with over 2 million online mentions in less than 24-hours. Privacy campaigners have welcomed the ruling while analysts watching this space remain sceptical on the implications it could have for online behaviour.
Digital and social media director for Ketchum’s European operations and CIPR president Stephen Waddington is certain that the ruling will be challenged but remains optimistic about the impact it can have on the communications industry. ‘The ruling has the potential to make online reputation management pretty straightforward as it creates an opportunity for PR to erase negative content regarding individuals from search engines if they can prove the information based on historical circumstances are no longer relevant.’
‘The real challenge will be in how Google and other online publishers actually manage the process.’
If the law comes into effect, search engines such as Google will indeed have to take on larger roles as data controllers and gatekeepers but it will be interesting to see just how many people have deep enough pockets to challenge the search engine giants.
What do you think?