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Spain: Supreme Court issues decision on personal identifiers and right to erasure

The Spanish Supreme Court issued, on 24 January 2020, a decision ('the Decision') to allow an appeal against a decision issued by the Spanish data protection authority ('AEPD') in which the AEPD dismissed the claimant's request for de-indexation addressed at Microsoft Corporation and its search enginge Bing. In particular, the Supreme Court focussed on the question of clarifying whether the data controller should be obliged to de-index URLs that appear via a search carried out using the claimant's two surnames. Originally, the AEPD had dismissed the claim, stating that only the first name and surname together could clearly identify a person and that de-indexation claims were only admitted based on searches using these two identifiers. Moreover, the AEPD held that two surnames, even if they are less frequent combinations, could not be classified as unequivocal identifiers.

However, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the AEPD, stating that, in its opinion, the concept of searching a natural person by name, which was the basis for the request under the right to be forgotten, should be interpreted as referring to searches by the first name and surname of a person combined as well as to searches made only by surnames.

You can read the Decision, only available in Spanish, here.