Emma Carr, acting director of Big Brother Watch, said: “The principle that you have a right to be forgotten is a laudable one, but it was never intended to be a way for people to rewrite history. Search engines do not host information and trying to get them to censor legal content from their results is the wrong approach. Information should be tackled at source, which in this case is a Spanish newspaper, otherwise we start getting into very dangerous territory.
“The regulators should be doing more to ensure that people have an informed choice over what data is collected about them by companies like Google, but if we start to make intermediaries responsible for the actions of the content of other people, you’re establishing a model that leads to greater surveillance and a risk of censorship.
“A better example of why it is needed would be when someone wants to close a social media account. Companies shouldn’t be able to hold on to our information just in case you want to re-join. It’s important that citizens have better rights when it comes to stopping companies collecting data without proper consent or holding on to information for an unjustifiable length of time, even when people have ceased to use a service.”