Google has received a record fine from Belgium’s data protection authority (APD) of 600,000 Euro for not complying with European rules on a person’s “right to be forgotten” online.
The 600,000 Euro penalty is the largest ever imposed by APD, it said on Tuesday, and more than 10 times bigger than the authority’s 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 person’s 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“negligent” in deciding not to remove the links, given that the company had evidence that the facts were irrelevant and out of date, APD said.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 people’s rights of access to information and privacy.”
“We didn’t believe this case met the European Court of Justice’s criteria for delisting published journalism from search — we thought it was in the public’s interest that this reporting remain searchable,” a Google spokesperson said.
The EU’s top court enshrined the “right to be forgotten” principle in 2014 when it ruled that people could ask search engines like Google to remove inadequate or irrelevant information from web results appearing under searches for their names.
APD also ordered Google to stop referencing the pages inside Europe, and provide clearer information on which entities are responsible for handling “right to be forgotten” requests.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
France to push for rights sanctions in EU recovery plan – Minister
France will push for financial sanctions under the EU’s 750 billion euro ($880 billion) coronavirus recovery fund against states that undermine fundamental human rights, its junior European Affairs Minister told the Financial Times newspaper.
“We can’t tell (French, Polish, Hungarian and European) citizens that (we) can have financial solidarity in Europe and not care how the basic rules of democracy, free media and equal rights are respected,’’ Clement Beaune said in an interview published late on Sunday.
The European Union is struggling to respond to what many in Western Europe see as creeping authoritarianism on its eastern flank.
The European Commission, EU lawmakers and activists have said freedoms are notably under threat in Poland and Hungary.
Beaune told the newspaper that the EU must be tougher on breaches by those countries.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
COVID-19 Response: FG receives 2nd Batch Medical Supplies of UN Basket Fund
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has joined other stakeholders to receive 2nd Batch Medical Supplies purchased with UN Basket Fund for COVID-19 Response on behalf of the Federal Government.
Mr Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, said this in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja.
Oyetomi said Ehanire joined the National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu at the Cargo Section of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja to receive medical supplies from EU contributions worth N26 Billion.
Ehanire said this 2nd Batch of medical supplies would allay the fears of the health workers, especially the frontline health workers, who thought that Nigeria might be running short of supplies and were threatening strike.
The minister said there was arrangement in place through institutions and international friends like the EU and the UN to have replenishment.
He assured the EU and the UN of judicious distribution of the medical supplies to needed areas.
The Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Alexander Borges – Gomes, coordinated the handing over of the Medical Supplies.
Borges-Gomes disclosed that the items were procured through the One United Nations COVID-19 Basket Fund from a significant contribution from the European Union of €50 Million (N26 Billion).
The medical supplies include 500,000 face shields; 200,000 goggles; 100 oro-pharyngeal airways; 10,000 bio-hazard bags; and 14,000 safety boxes.
Borges-Gomes disclosed further that these were the 2nd Batch of the Medical Supplies by Team Europe – the EU and its MSs after the arrival of the 1st batch in mid-June, adding “Team Europe operates globally and here is the effort on behalf of Nigeria.”
He expressed hope that the equipment would boost the Nigerian Government’s response efforts as a whole but in particular, they would protect the heroic frontline health workers.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
Russia vows tit-for-tat retaliation for EU sanctions
The Russian Foreign Ministry pledged a tit-for-tat response on Friday to the new European Union (EU) sanctions against a number of Russian citizens and government agencies under the pretext of their involvement in cyber attacks.
“As you know, in diplomacy, everything is mirrored,” the ministry said in a statement.
The decision made Thursday by the Council of the EU to introduce unilateral restrictive measures against a number of citizens and entities of Russia, China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea causes bewilderment and regret, it said.
Moscow has several times suggested that the EU establish a professional dialogue on issues of concern in the information sphere, or use the existing channels and mechanisms through the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the ministry said.
Joint efforts are required to develop universal rules, standards and principles of responsible behavior for states in the information sphere and Russia has long been proposing this approach, it said.
But instead, Brussels preferred to use a sanctions toolkit, presenting it as promoting international security and stability in cyberspace, the ministry said.
The ministry also pointed out that the EU sanctions are absolutely illegitimate from an international legal point of view.
It said that the EU applied the sanctions retroactively, as the Russian citizens were accused of involvement in a cyber incident that took place in 2018, that is, a year before the establishment of the cyber sanctions mechanism by the EU.
Iran’s int’l goalkeeper Beiranvand to follow dreams in Europe
Iran’s international goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand has said that his dreams have no limits in his new European adventure, Tehran Times daily reported on Friday.
Belgian side Royal Antwerp completed the signing of the former Persepolis goalkeeper earlier this week.
Beiranvand, 28, said that “After the 2018 FIFA World Cup, I was determined to play abroad, especially in Europe, but my former club Persepolis did not agree and I stayed there for another season.”
“When Marc Wilmots was appointed as the head coach of Iran national team, we had a good relationship with each other at that time. However, he did not stay in Iran for a long period. He encouraged me to play in European football.”
“Wilmots also compared me to great Belgian goalkeepers like Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet, which made me very happy,” Beiranvand was quoted as saying.
“Despite my late arrival in Belgium and the language barriers, I think I can make an impact quickly at Antwerp. We will see what happens. For me, there are truly no limits to achieving my dreams,” he said.