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Cookies Policy

 SFT SERVICIOS JURIDICOS S.L.P., uses own and third party cookies to obtain browsing data of our users in order to offer quality services and provide a better browsing experience and to identify technical problems that may appear on the web. Likewise, if you give your prior consent through your browsing, we will use cookies, which allow us to obtain more information about your preferences and to customize our website based on your individual interests.

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Thursday, 12 July 2018 15:47

Constitutional Court ruling on search by proper names

A ruling of the First Chamber of the Constitutional Court has prohibited the search in digital newspaper archives by proper names. This opinion is a reflection of the controversy and the supposed incompatibility between the right to information and the "right to be forgotten", which has been generated in specialized networks and forums.


This concept is included in the Data Protection Regulation of the European Union in its Article 17. It would suppose the suppression of personal data in the media, for the protection of the privacy and honor of those involved. Both rights are also included in articles 18.4 (guarantee of the right to honor), and 18.1 (privacy), of the Spanish Constitution.


This is a sentence handed down by the rapporteur, María Luisa Balaguer, on June 4, 2018. In it, the Supreme Court considers an amparo requested by two people against a 2015 judgment; it was allowed to expose their names in a case of drug trafficking of the 80s. The demand was introduced in protection of their honor, privacy and personal data.

The ruling of the High Constitutional Court requires that the names of individuals involved in old crimes can not be searched in digital media. This implies that they take measures not to include them in the indexing of the different search engines.

The case shows an apparent collision between the rights to information and the protection of personal privacy and honor. It is clear from the interpretation of the constitutional sentence that, with its application, the right to information would not be restricted. According to the magistrate, the identification of those involved does not contribute anything significant to the information.

The sentence says verbatim: "The prohibition of indexing personal data, specifically the names and surnames of the recurring persons, for use by the internal search engine of El País, must be limited, appropriate, necessary and proportionate in order to to avoid a dissemination of the harmful news of the rights invoked. "


The judicial ruling seeks a balance, under the assumption that no human right is absolute in itself. It is clarified that the guarantee of access to information must be qualified by two factors: first, the time elapsed since the events, which reduces the impact of its registration. Second, the importance of digital registration to guarantee the right to information.

Another aspect that becomes clear is that the time elapsed subtract incidence to the facts, but instead its disclosure would represent a great damage to the protagonists.


On the other hand, even if the names of the participants are eliminated, the guarantee of the right to dispose of public information is not limited. As an alternative, other search criteria are proposed, such as "thematic, temporal, geographical or any other type". Also, the initials of the first and last name would be sufficient for any inquiry.

In this way, the elimination of the search criteria by names will not prevent access to the information that involves them. Without a doubt, this Judgment is an important step towards the protection of those who may feel their intimacy and honor violated.

Writings SF Lawyers