Mexico debates Google sanction over data protection breach

Mexico is considering the imposition of sanctions against Google over a possible breach of data protection law.


Mexican officials are debating possible sanctions against Google over a possible breach of the country's data protection laws.

As reported by Reuters, Mexico's Federal Institute for Information Access and Data Protection (IFAI) said this week proceedings have begun against the tech giant in relation to a data protection complaint.

According to the transparency institute, an unnamed individual has levied a complaint against Google Mexico after the firm allegedly ignored the person's requests to have personal data erased from search engine results. The IFAI said the complaint was taken up in September 2014, and in December, the agency attempted to force Google Mexico to comply and remove offending links.

However, the attempt failed after Google Mexico argued the request was related to parent company Google's search engine, and was therefore not in the domain of the firm's Mexican unit.

The IFAI has rejected such a claim.

While there is no information currently available relating to the individual who originally made the request or the types of sanctions being considered, the Mexican watchdog can force companies to comply with local data protection laws. IFAI is charged with making changes to regulations and enforcing the rules where necessary.

Mexico's laws give data subjects the rights of "access, rectification, cancellation, and opposition" of their data. This includes the right to have "inaccurate or incomplete data pertaining to them rectified," which may be where Google has tripped up -- as Mexico ensures individuals have the right to object to the processing of personal data as well as having data removed.

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This is not the first time Google has come up against local data protection laws. Last year, the tech giant was embroiled within an EU case based around the concept of the "right to be forgotten." Due to a ruling made by Europe's Court of Justice, Google is now required to de-list links from its search engine if the results are out of date, inaccurate or no longer relevant to an individual.

US consumer group Consumer Watchdog has also asked Google to voluntarily offer US citizens the same rights that Europeans now hold in relation to search results.

ZDNet has reached out to Google and will update if we hear back.

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