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EU Asserts Jurisdiction Over Google’s Servers

06.28.13

Internet jurisdiction may have taken an interesting turn now that the EU asserted that servers outside the EU are subject to EU law. On June 25, 2013 Niilo Jaaskinen, the independent Advocate General of the European Court of Justice, issued an Opinion that the EU Data Protective Directive applies to search engines that contain data about EU citizens. That is, regardless of the location of the servers, the EU claims it has jurisdiction over Google, and other search engines. The Washington Post reported that:

...Google or other companies cannot argue they are not subject to local data regulators’ authority because their servers are physically located in another country.

The 1995 EU Data Protective Directive allows EU citizens to correct data on computers if it is incorrect, but previous to this Opinion the jurisdiction was thought to apply to servers in the EU.

Actually this Opinion was generally in favor of Google on a different legal issue – the “right to be forgotten” that the EU “...cannot require an internet search engine service provider to withdraw information” since:

…the Directive does not establish a general ‘right to be forgotten’. Such a right cannot therefore be invoked against search engine service providers on the basis of the Directive, even when it is interpreted in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

This Opinion may lead to a change in international Internet jurisdiction, however the Opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice. So we will see more litigation before the jurisdiction issue is resolved.
 

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