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Google Hit With €600,000 Belgian Privacy Fine

BRUSSELS—Google has received a record fine from Belgiums data protection authority (APD) of €600,000 ($683,000) for not complying with European rules on a persons “right to be forgotten” online.

The €600,000 penalty is the largest ever imposed by APD, it said on Tuesday, and more than 10 times bigger than the authoritys previous record penalty.

Google failed to remove links from its search results to articles which APD said were “obsolete” and damaging to the reputation of a person with a public profile in Belgium.

The news articles, which appeared in results linked to the persons name, related to unfounded complaints of harassment. Google was “negligent” in deciding not to remove the links, given that the company had evidence that the facts were irrelevant and out of date, APD said.

Google said it intends to appeal the decision in court, and had worked hard to “strike a sensible, principled balance between peoples rights of access to information and privacy.”

“We didnt believe this case met the European Court of Justices criteria for delisting published journalism from search—we thought it was in the publics interest that this reporting remain searchable,” a Google spokesperson said.

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