On July 14, 2020, the Litigation Chamber of the Belgian Data Protection Authority (the “Belgian DPA”) imposed a €600,000 fine on Google Belgium SA (“Google”) for non-compliance with the right to be forgotten.
The Belgian DPA’s investigation was triggered by a complaint regarding Google’s refusal to dereference outdated articles relating to a public figure in Belgium. Following its investigation, the Belgian DPA found that Google had been negligent in refusing to honor the claimant’s request to remove links to outdated information regarding an unfounded harassment complaint, which could potentially have a significant impact on the concerned individual’s reputation. Furthermore, the Belgian DPA took the view that Google’s response to the dereferencing request, as well as its dereference request form do not meet the transparency requirements under the GDPR. In addition to imposing a fine, the Belgian DPA ordered Google to (1) remove links to the concerned pages from search results in the European Economic Area, and (2) revise its dereferencing request form to clarify which entity is the relevant data controller.