Article 29 Working Party to Formulate a Common Approach on the “right to be forgotten”


The Article 29 Working Party on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data is an independent advisory body on data protection and privacy, set up under Article 29 of the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. It is composed of representatives from the national data protection authorities of the EU Member States, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Commission. The Article 29 Working Party (“A29WP”) examines questions covering the application of the data protection directives in order to contribute to the uniform application of the directives. It carries out this task by issuing recommendations, opinions and working documents.


On 18 September 2014, the A29WPdiscussed the implications of the judgment of the CJEU on 13 May 2014 in the ‘right to be forgotten’ case. Arising from the extensive discussions the working party had in relation to this issue, it appears that data protection authorities across the EU have received complaints as a result of search engines’ refusal to remove complainants from search results.


A decision was made to adopt a “co-ordinated and consistent” approach to handling these complaints.  In this regard, a network of dedicated contact persons will be put in place to develop common case-handling criteria to deal with complaints made to data protection authorities. This network of individuals will provide the various authorities with (1) a common record of decisions taken on complaints; and (2) a dashboard to help identify similar cases or new or more difficult cases.


The A29WP confirmed that it would continue to monitor compliance by search engine providers with the ruling of the CJEU on 13 May whilst it continues to develop a guidance document to clarify the extent of the right. This guidance is expected to be issued towards the end of November 2014. Meanwhile the European Commission has published document setting out the myths associated with the right and be located here.


We will have more on this topic when the A29WP publish its guidance document in November. In the meantime, should you have any queries in relation to data protection please contact Adrian Smyth at │@adrianbsmyth │+353 1 8725155