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Europe privacy ruling 'struck wrong balance', says Google's Schmidt

Google's executive chairman has commented on the European court ruling that says individuals have a right to be forgotten.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

The European court that ruled individuals have the right to be removed from search results "struck the wrong balance", according to Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

"Google believes, having looked at the decision -- which is binding -- that the balance that was struck was wrong," Schmidt said, when asked about the ruling at a meeting with stockholders.

Google's senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer David Drummond added, "We think it went too far, and didn't consider adequately the impact on free expression, which is absolutely a human right."

The sentiments echo Google's initial statement on the recent ruling, which saw the European Court of Justice decide that people can ask Google or other online entities to erase or edit online search results, if those results infringe the privacy of the person in question.

If the search engine refuses, individuals may "bring the matter before the competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results", the ruling decreed. Google called the verdict "a disappointing ruling for search engines and online publishers in general."

"You have a collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know," Schmidt commented at the recent stockholder meeting. "From Google's perspective that's a balance."

The ruling has sparked debate as to whether individuals should have the right to ask Google to remove information from its search results, or not. Do you think the ruling was fair? Drop your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.