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The Israeli Supreme Court declined yesterday to implement a right to be forgotten under Israel’s privacy laws. The decision overturned an order by the Directorate of Courts, an agency overseeing court administration, to legal databases to prevent indexation of court decisions by online search engines, such as Google. The Directorate cited litigants’ right to privacy in cases ranging from family law to personal injury, including quoting the Court of Justice of European Union decision in the Costeja case. The Supreme Court weighed the balance between the right to litigants’ privacy against the public interest in open court records, holding that clear legislative mandate was required to limit access to judicial data. The ruling stressed that under the Directorate’s order, court records would remain accessible by lawyers who paid to subscribe to legal databases, unjustly handicapping members of the public who do not typically subscribe to such services and access court data exclusively through the open web. The Court suggested that the legislature could protect litigants’ privacy by requiring courts to suppress sensitive information in judgments and, in appropriate cases, publish cases under pseudonymous litigant names. The decision, HCJ 5870/14 Hashavim H.P.S. Business Data v. Directorate of Courts, in Hebrew, is available at the “Full Story” link.
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