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Google reprimanded by Belgian SA

Google reprimanded by Belgian SA

Google was reprimanded by the Belgian SA due to lack of transparency concerning a request to have articles delisted.


This recent decision by the Belgian SA concerns a lawyer who was previously disbarred less than 10 years ago, who had requested that articles and information concerning his disbarment be delisted. The complainant currently works as a legal advisor and had his complaint dismissed by the Belgian SA. According to this report by the EDPB, the Authority reprimanded Google for a lack of transparency in this case. Under the GDPR, the Belgian SA recognized some shortcomings in the manner in which Google handled the complainant’s request. 


Google reprimanded by Belgian Supervisory Authority despite the complaint made against the company being dismissed


While the Belgian Supervisory Authority dismissed complaints regarding Google’s refusal to delist, the Authority found it necessary to reprimand the company due to SuperSonics in the manner in which the delisting request was handled. Google did not honor the complainants request based on a reasoning that the public still has an interest to access the information concerning the lawyer in the search engine. The Belgian Supervisory Authority, while not in disagreement with this, found that the complainant was effectively ‘passed around’ from Google Ireland to Google LLC via Google Belgium, and that there were issues with the quality of the statement of why the delisting is refused. This statement was said to lack transparency, and to be in violation of Article 12 of the GDPR. 


The Belgian Supervisory Authority found issues with the quality of the response to the data subject’s request.


With regard to Article 17 of the GDPR, the Belgian Supervisory Authority found Google to be in violation of article 12 of the GDPR. Article 17 relates to the data subject’s right to erasure, and while the authority dismissed the complaints of the data subject in this instance, the company was found to be in violation of Article 12 due to the lack of transparency in responding to the data subject’s request. Article 12 states that “the controller shall take appropriate measures to provide any information referred to in Articles 13 and 14 and any communication under Articles 15 to 22 and 34 relating to processing to the data subject in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language…” In this case, due to unclear identification of the controller, the authority found issues with the quality of the response to the data subject’s request, and reprimanded the company. 

Does your company have all of the mandated safeguards in place to ensure the safety of the personal data you collect or process? Aphaia can help. Aphaia also provides both GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 consultancy services, including data protection impact assessments, and Data Protection Officer outsourcing. We can help your company get on track towards full compliance. Contact us today.

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