2 December 2021
On 26 of October 2021, a High Court (HC) sitting in Lagos, in a landmark judgment, dismissed a claim against Google (Represented by TEMPLARS) for the enforcement of the right to the erasure of personal data, privacy rights and other fundamental rights.
The Plaintiff claimed that he had the right to the erasure of his personal data under the Nigerian Data Protection Regulations (NDPR) 2019 which is similar to the “Right to be Forgotten” under the European Union General Data Protection Regulation of 2018.
In this case, the claimant, a cleric who was convicted and imprisoned in the United Kingdom in 2015, sued Google in Nigeria, seeking orders from the court to compel Google to erase or delete from its digital platforms, including the Google Search Engine, all information regarding his conviction and imprisonment in the UK.
TEMPLARS, on behalf of Google, submitted, among others, that:
Google neither published nor aided the publication of the information complained of.
Google is unable to and cannot delete information that is published by independent internet users on thirdparty websites.
Information relating to the claimant’s conviction and imprisonment in the UK constitutes public records accessible to the general public in line with the common law principle of “open justice”, and as such, is not the claimant’s personal information.
The HC dismissed the claimant’s action in its entirety and declined the invitation to give orders restricting further access to the information through the Google Search Engine.
The TEMPLARS team was led by Disputes & METIS (Media Entertainment Technology Intellectual property and Sports) Partner, Sadiq Ilegieuno, assisted by senior associate, Jacob Obi and associates, Collins Ogbu and Kazeem Lawal.