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English High Court Takes Jurisdiction Over Google Inc. in EU ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Dispute

02 October 2014

Mason Hayes & Curran Technology Law Blog

A recent decision of the English High Court demonstrates a willingness of European courts to be more assertive in taking jurisdiction in disputes over individuals’ data privacy rights. The court, in Hegglin v. Person Unknown & Google Inc. [2014] EWHC 2808 (QB), agreed to allow a person bring a case against Google Inc. in England, despite that fact that Google Inc. is based in the United States.

The case

data protection, Google Inc.Mr Justice Bean in the English High Court granted permission for the proceedings to be served against Google Inc., despite the fact Google Inc. is headquartered outside England. Part of the judge’s reasoning in allowing the service of papers on Google Inc. in California was, amongst other things, the fact that Mr Hegglin asserted that his data protection and privacy rights had been infringed by the search engine.

Mr Hegglin, a businessman currently resident in Hong Kong but with significant business interests and a home in London, initiated legal action against persons unknown and Google Inc. on 20 June 2014. He was seeking to have links to defamatory and abusive posts about him removed from Google search results returned against his name.