Plaintiff X v. Google

DPA Procedure (Expediente 012-2015-PTT)
Document type
Administrative Decision

This case in Peru is about reports associating the plaintiff to criminal procedures from which he has been acquitted. After an initial ruling of the Peruvian DPA (Dirección General de Protección de Datos Personales) determining Google Peru must generally delist all content associating the plaintiff to the news related to the criminal matters mentioned in the complaint. Google appealed within the DPA’s administrative procedure. The Peruvian DPA upheld its initial ruling, but indicated precisely the 16 URLs that should be removed by the search engine. In the decision, the DPA asserted that:

  1. Google Peru was under jurisdiction of the Peruvian Law, and therefore, the Peruvian DPA;
  2. By indexing search results based on a name query, Google Peru was processing data and should thus be considered a data controller in the terms of Peruvian Data Protection Law;
  3. Google Peru was responsible for delisting the content indicated and was fined for not attending the data subject’s rights.

The DPA developed a legal reasoning centered on the lack of consent to process personal data, and affirmed that webmasters' failure to use the robots exclusion protocol (robots.txt) did not correspond to a tacit authorization to process personal data.

When analyzing the freedom of expression of the webmasters affected by the delisting order, the DPA affirms that this is an inappropriate question, as the delisting based on the name of an individual does not affect the original information, which remains available and unaltered in the source webpages. The DPA also dismiss the idea that the freedom of information of the users would be affected, stating that the information would still be accessible if the query made to the search engine is based in other criteria than the person’s name. In a general assessment of the freedom of expression, the DPA decides that the specific case contains no reasons that reveal a public interest in the access to those specific pieces of information, that affect the life of a citizen that does not play an important role in public life and is not a public figure.

Considering all these arguments, the DPA rejected Google’s arguments and upheld the its original decision to determine Google Peru appeal to delist the URLs specified in the case.

Topic, claim, or defense
Defamation or Personality Rights
Privacy or Data Protection
Right to Be Forgotten
Freedom of Expression
Document type
Administrative Decision
Issuing entity
Administrative Authority
Type of service provider
Search Engine or Index
Issues addressed
Trigger for OSP obligations
OSP obligation considered
Block or Remove
Type of law
General intermediary liability model
Takedown/Act Upon Administrative Request