Rb. Den Haag - C/09/581706 / HA RK 19-593

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Revision as of 09:44, 8 December 2020 by Wimh (talk | contribs) (Not decided yet, it is a proposal to ask these questions. Will be decided in January 2021 whether to ask these questions and the exact text. 4.27. De rechtbank is *voornemens* de volgende vragen aan het HvJEU te stellen (...) 4.28. De rechtbank zal partijen in staat stellen om zich uit te laten over *het voornemen* om prejudiciële vragen te stellen. Ook kunnen zij zich uitlaten over de voorgestelde vragen.)
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Rb. Den Haag - C/09/581706 / HA RK 19-593
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Court: Rb. Den Haag (Netherlands)
Jurisdiction: Netherlands
Relevant Law: Article 12(5) GDPR
Article 21(1) GDPR
Article 35(2) GDPR Implementation Act
Decided: 27.11.2020
Published: 03.12.2020
Parties: Google LLC
National Case Number/Name: C/09/581706 / HA RK 19-593
European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2020:12154
Appeal from:
Appeal to: Not appealed
Original Language(s): Dutch
Original Source: Rechtspraak.nl (in Dutch)
Initial Contributor: n/a

The District Court of the Hague (Rb. Den Haag) proposes to submit preliminary questions to the ECJ on the interpretation of - inter alia - Articles 12(5) and 21(1) of the GDPR. This case concerns the admissibility of a complaint in front of civil courts, pursuant to a data subject erasure request.

English Summary[edit | edit source]

Facts[edit | edit source]

The applicant asked Google to remove search results for his name, under the "right to be forgotten". Google decided not to take action on certain URLs. Two months later, the applicant submitted a new (repeated) request, which was rejected by Google for the same reasons. The applicant then lodged a complaint in front of the Dutch civil courts.

In Netherlands, the instigation of legal proceedings against a data controller on the basis of the GDPR has been further regulated by the "GDPR Implementation Act". According to Article 35(2) of this local law, data subjects who wish to challenge a data controller' decision on a request made on the basis of Articles 15 to 22 of the GDPR, shall lodge their petition in front of the civil courts within six weeks of receipt of the decision. According to the Dutch case law, exceeding this six-week period leads, in principle, to inadmissibility.

Consequently, Google was of the opinion that the applicant's petition was inadmissible as it was submitted later than six weeks after Google's first reply, and therefore not within the period prescribed by Article 35(2) of the GDPR Implementation Act.

On the contrary, the applicant was of the opinion that his second (repeated) request started a new time-limit. According to the applicant, neither the GDPR nor its Implementation Act limits the number of applications which may be submitted. In that regard, the applicant refers to the text of Article 21(1) of the GDPR, which states that requets for removal can be made "at any time".

Dispute[edit | edit source]

Should the applicant's complaint be declared inadmissible for not respecting the time limits as set out to in Article 12(5) of the GDPR and Article 35(2) of the Dutch GDPR Implementation Act?

Holding[edit | edit source]

According to the court, the exercise of the rights granted to the data subjects by the GDPR is not unlimited. In order to protect the legitimate interests of the data controller (not to have to decide continuously on repeated requests and be subjected to lengthy litigation, but to know, within a workable period, whether its decision can still be submitted to the courts or not), there are limits to the frequency with which data subjects can make use of their rights. Article 12(5) of the GDPR provides in this respect that a controller may refuse to comply with a data subject request where that request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, in particular because of its repetitive nature.

However, Article 12(5) of the GDPR does not contain a clear answer as to when a request may be dismissed as repetitive, nor whether, as in the present case, this can be done after only one repeated request within two months of receiving the negative answer. In addition, it is not clear to the court how Article 12(5) relates to the right to object deriving from Article 21(1), which the data subjects can exercise "at any time", neither how the submission of a repeated request relates to the situation where the national law sets a period of six weeks for lodging an appeal and where such period has expired.

The domestic court therefore proposes to ask the following questions to the European Court of Justice:

1) Do the words "at any time" in Article 21(1) of the GDPR mean that data subjects, following receipt of a negative decision in response to a request for removal, are entitled to submit a repeated request (when there is not any change in the facts or circumstances relating to the data subject's situation)?

2) If yes, is the data controller nevertheless allowed, under Article 12(5)(b) of the GDPR, to refuse to comply with the request because of its repetitive nature?

3) Is it relevant how much time elapsed between receipt of the controller's decision rejecting the previous request and the submission of the new (repeated) request by the data subjects? If so, how much time must have elapsed as a minimum before the data subject can submit a new (repeated) request?

4) Does it make any difference if the national law lays down a time-limit within which the data subjects must lodge their appeal against a (negative) decision of a controller, and that time limit has expired at the time when the repeated request is lodged? Is it possible, immediately after the expiry of the time-limit, to submit a new identical request to which the controller would have to reply as to the substance and against which - according to the letter of Article 35(2) - an appeal could (still) be lodged?

5) Does it make any difference if, when the original (rejected) request was made, the data subject was assisted by a professional legal adviser, such as a lawyer?

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English Machine Translation of the Decision[edit | edit source]

The decision below is a machine translation of the Dutch original. Please refer to the Dutch original for more details.

COURT OF THE HAGUE

Trading team

case number / application number: C / 09/581706 / HA RK 19-593

Order of November 27, 2020

in the case of
1 [applicant sub 1],

2. [applicant, point 2],

both at [place] ([country]),

applicants,

lawyer mr. STLA Mulders in Echt,

against

the legal person under foreign law

GOOGLE LLC , of Mountain View, California (United States),

defendant,

lawyer mr. D. Verhulst and mr. AJ Tromp in Amsterdam.

The parties are hereinafter referred to as "[applicant 1]", "[applicant 2]" and "Google". The applicants are jointly referred to as '[applicant sub 1] et al.'.
1 The procedure

The course of the procedure is evidenced by:

    -

    the petition, with Exhibits 1 to 47,
    -

    the statement of defense, with exhibits 1 to 17,
    -

    the oral hearing of 3 September 2020, at which both parties submitted arguments and the additional exhibits 48 to 56 by [applicant under 1] et al. and exhibits 18 to 20 by Google submitted for the oral hearing. 

2 The facts
2.1.

This case concerns the deletion of search results that appear in the Google search engine when a search is made for the name of [applicant 1] or the name of [applicant 2].
2.2.

The following preceded this petition procedure.
2.2.1.

Mr. On 25 July 2019, Mulders submitted a request to Google on behalf of [applicant under 1] to remove more than a hundred URLs from the search results in a search on the name of [applicant under 1] (and two other versions of his name). Mr. Mulders made the same request for removal on 25 July 2019 on behalf of [applicant, sub 2], with regard to a large number of search results in her name. At the bottom of the request, mr. Mulders briefly explained the reason for the removal request on behalf of his clients. The following reason has been given to [applicant under 1]:

“Client is portrayed as an important player in an alleged fraud in connection with broadcasting rights of football organizations. Client was only a statutory director of [X] for a very short time. This organization has obtained the rights to the football matches of the Copa de America. The services were purchased from LTDA to exploit these rights. The rights were subsequently sold to Globo S / A. When the client took office, this construction had existed for years. Client has only continued this. He has always consulted the trust office and was also supervised by the bank and the Dutch government. In 2015 media attention arose because of the construction. then the client resigned his position. Client is of the opinion that he is wrongly portrayed as a central pivot. His role has been very modest and he has always acted on the advice of his advisers. Moreover, the information is no longer relevant due to the passage of time. ”

The following reason was given to [applicant, sub 2]:

“Client is portrayed as a key player in an alleged fraud in connection with international broadcasting rights of football matches. Client was only very briefly UBO of the parent organization suspected of being involved in the alleged fraud. She has nothing to do with any fraud and has received only very limited remuneration for her position. She believes her role on this issue is disproportionate to media attention. Moreover, the issue occurred in 2015 and the articles are now no longer relevant due to the passage of time. ”
2.2.2.

Google responded to the requests on July 30, 2019. Google responded that:

(i) a number of URLs will be removed from the search results, because the name of respectively [applicant 1] or [applicant 2] does not appear on the relevant web pages;

(ii) some links to URLs could not be evaluated;

(iii) the other links (most of them), after substantive assessment, will not be removed from the search results.

Google has formulated the decision referred to under (iii) as follows:

“Having assessed the balance of relevant rights and interests relating to the content in question, including factors as its relevance to your client’s professional life, Google has decided not to block this content.

At this time, Google has decided not to take action on these URLs.

(…)

You may also have the right to raise this issue with your country’s data protection authority if you are unhappy with the decision Google has taken. (…)”
2.2.3.

Mr. On 6 August 2019, Mulders responded briefly to Google's answer on behalf of [applicant 1] and [applicant 2] and requested that a number of other URLs be removed from the search results.
2.2.4.

Google responded on August 7, 2019 (to the additional removal request on behalf of [applicant under 1]) and on August 29, 2019 (to the additional request on behalf of [applicant, item 2]) respectively. Google has replied that a number (at [applicant's item 1]) and one (at [applicant's item 2]) URLs could not be assessed and that the other links will not be removed after substantive assessment.
2.2.5.

Mr. On 27 September 2019, Mulders again submitted a request on behalf of [applicant under 1] and [applicant, under 2] (for each individual) to remove all search results. The same reasons were put forward for the removal as the reasons put forward in the previous removal requests of 25 July 2019 and 6 August 2019 on behalf of [applicant 1] and [applicant 2].
2.2.6.

Google responded to this new request on September 30, 2019. Google responded that:

(i) a number of URLs will be removed from the search results because the name of [applicant 1] or [applicant 2] respectively does not appear on the relevant web pages;

(ii) some links could not be rated;

(iii) a number of links will not be removed from the search results after substantive assessment;

(iv) for the remaining links (the majority) a removal request has already been submitted, to which a response has already been given.

Google has formulated the decision referred to under (iv) as follows:

“We have determined that you have submitted these URLs before. We are working on a response to these URLs or have already replied to them.

We request that you do not send repeated requests with duplicate URLs as this will delay our process.

(…)

We ask that you do not include previously reported URLs in future reports. ”
3 The request
3.1.

On 15 October 2019, the court received a petition on behalf of [petitioner sub 1] et al. In it, [applicant sub 1] et al. Requests - in short - that Google be ordered by decision, enforceable by stock, to use the URLs shown under 1 to 102 in Exhibit 14 (for a search on the name of [applicant sub 1 ]) and under 1 to 57 in exhibit 15 (for a search on the name of [applicant, sub 2]) from the Google search results, primarily for searches by users worldwide, alternatively for searches from the European Union or [ country], and more alternatively for searches from within the European Union only, in all cases with Google being ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings.
3.2.

[applicant sub 1] et al bases the removal requests on Article 17 paragraph 1, under a, c and d, and Article 21 paragraph 1 of the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data and repealing Directive 95/46 / EC, hereinafter: ' GDPR '). In this connection, [applicant under 1] et al. Also invokes what the Court of Justice of the European Union (hereinafter: CJEU) in its judgment of 13 May 2014 in […] / Google, C-131/12, ECLI: EU: C: 2014: 317 and in its judgment of September 24, 2019 in GC / Google, C-136/17, ECLI: EU: C: 2019: 773 has determined with regard to an individual's right to forget and removing results from a search engine for a search by its name.
3.3.

Google has defended the requests.
4 The assessment
requests (in) admissible?
4.1.

The court agrees with the parties that it on the basis of Article 79 (2) GDPR is authorized to take cognizance of the requests , because the controller (Google) has a branch in the Netherlands (Google Netherlands).
4.2.

Subsequently, the court is first asked whether [applicant sub 1] et al can be received in the requests.
4.3.

According to Google, this is not the case, because [applicant sub 1] et al. Did not submit the petition within the period of six weeks prescribed by Article 35, second paragraph of the General Data Protection Regulation ('UAVG') after receipt of Google's reply. submitted. Google takes the position that this period of six weeks started to run for [applicant under 1] et al. After the answers of 30 July 2019 and the additional answers of 7 August 2019 ([applicant sub 1]) and 29 August 2019 ([applicant sub 1]) respectively. applicant, item 2]). On this basis, according to Google, the petition was due on September 10, 2019 (for the first rejection decision) and on September 18, 2019 ([petitioner sub 1]) and October 10, 2019 ([applicant sub 2], respectively, for the additional rejection decision) must be submitted. According to Google, it cannot be accepted as correct that with the repeated request of 27 September 2019 a new period has started, because the six-week period of Article 35 UAVG would then in fact become a dead letter and Google, as controller, has a legitimate interest to oppose repetitive requests to be protected and not to be subjected to court proceedings indefinitely.
4.4.

[Applicant under 1] et al. takes the position that the requests of 27 September 2019 triggered a new term, so that the petition was submitted on time. According to [applicant 1] al., Neither the AVG et nor the UAVG has a limitation in the number of requests that may be submitted. In that regard, [applicant sub 1] et al. refers to the text of Article 21 paragraph 1 requests GDPR , from which it follows that for removal may be made 'at any time' and the decision of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal of 5 November 2019, ECLI: NL: GHAMS: 3966, in which it was held that it is indeed possible to extend the term by a new request based on Article 21 GDPR submitting , according to [applicant sub 1] et al.
4.5.

The court considers as follows. Articles 12, 17, 21 and 79 of the to this point of dispute GDPR are relevant .
4.6.

The initiating legal proceedings against a data controller under the AVG is further regulated in the Netherlands in UAVG. Articles 34 and 35 UAVG include the following:

Section 3.3 Legal protection

Article 34. Applicability of the General Administrative Law Act in decisions of administrative bodies

A written decision on a request as referred to in Articles 15 to 22 of the Regulation is taken within the periods referred to in Article 12, third paragraph, of the Regulation and, insofar as it has been taken by an administrative authority, is considered a decision. within the meaning of the General Administrative Law Act.

Article 35. Applicability of civil law by decision of non-administrative bodies

1. If the decision on a request as referred to in Article 34 has been taken by a body other than an administrative body, the interested party may apply to the court with a written request to order the controller to request the request as referred to in Articles 15 to 22. of the regulation.

2. The petition shall be submitted within six weeks of receipt of the controller's reply. If the controller has not replied within the periods referred to in Article 12 (3) of the Regulation, the submission of the petition is not subject to a period.

(….)

4. The petition does not have to be filed by a lawyer. ”
4.7.

The discussion in this case focuses on the term of six weeks referred to in article 35 paragraph 2 of the UAVG for submitting a petition to the court (hereinafter also referred to as: 'the six-week term'), and the relationship to that provision, in particular Article 21 GDPR . The following has been noted in the legislative history of the UAVG with regard to this term (Parliamentary Papers II, 34 851, no. 3, p. 118).

“If the controller is not an administrative body and the Awb therefore does not apply, the data subject can follow the application procedure from the Code of Civil Procedure. This procedure also already exists on the basis of Article 46 of the Wbp (Personal Data Protection Act, court) . As under the Wbp, the application procedure is open to the data subject and to other interested parties who wish to challenge a decision of the controller on a request under Articles 15 to 22 of the Regulation through the court.

The second paragraph relates to the term for submitting an application to the court. If the controller has responded to the data subject's request within the time limit, the data subject then has six weeks to file a petition with the civil court if he does not agree with the controller's decision. The controller must make a decision on the request within the periods referred to in Article 12, third paragraph, of the Regulation, that is to say, he must take a final decision or an extension decision within one month (see also the explanation to Article 34). This period is therefore the same for all controllers, regardless of whether they are administrative bodies or not (cf. Article 34). If the controller has not responded within the time limit, there is no time limit for submitting the petition to a civil court because it is neither necessary nor very reasonable to give the litigant a relatively short time to file the petition if the controller is in default. In this way, the same terms apply for administrative and civil proceedings (compare article 6:12 Awb). ”
4.8.

The legal history of the UAVG does not explicitly explain the exact ratio of the six-week term for submitting the petition), other than that it is apparently intended to align the term for a civil court procedure with the period of six weeks that applies on the basis of Article 6: 7 of the General Administrative Law Act (Awb) if the controller is an administrative body.

In the legislative history of Article 46 of the Wbp - on which Article 35 of the UAVG elaborates (and the preceding Article 34 of the Personal Records Act, which still had a submission period of two months), no concrete attention has been paid to the ratio of the six-week period. It may be assumed that the purpose of setting the period is to provide legal certainty to the interested parties (including the controller), if relevant, third parties, as to whether (legal consequences of) the decision taken by the controller on a request is maintained, or that a judgment of the judge on this request is still requested.
4.9.

In Dutch case law, it has been held that the six-week period is fatal and that exceeding it will in principle lead to inadmissibility (see, for example, Amsterdam Court of Appeal, 5 November 2019, ECLI: NL: GHAMS: 2019: 3966, point 3.4. 5.).
4.10.

The court is therefore of the opinion that the requests of [applicant under 1] et al. Are inadmissible, insofar as they are directed against the rejection decisions of Google of 30 July 2020, 7 August 2019 and 29 August 2019. The petition of 15 August 2019. October 2019 was submitted later than six weeks after receipt of these decisions and therefore not within the period prescribed by Article 35 paragraph 2 UAVG.
4.11.

Then the question to be answered is what the consequences are of the new removal request that mr. Mulder made on 27 September 2019 on behalf of [applicant sub 1] et al.
4.12.

It is not disputed between the parties that the removal requests of 27 September 2019 - in any case largely - refer to the same URLs as the earlier removal requests of [applicant sub 1] et al. Of 25 July 2019 and 6 August 2019. [applicant sub 1] et al. admittedly stated at the hearing that it concerned more URLs, but he did not specifically explain which URLs they were. Moreover, [petitioner sub 1] et al. Stated in the petition that it was a request to 'remove all URLs again' (petition, marginal 3.3 and 3.5.).
4.13.

The court therefore takes the premise that the removal requests of 27 September 2019 are the same URLs. The reasons for the removal given by [applicant under 1] et al. Are also the same as in the previous request. No new or changed facts and circumstances were put forward with respect to the previous removal requests. The only difference is that these requests were made two months later. In essence, it concerns an identical - repeated - request, within a period of two months.
4.14.

The text of Articles 17 (1) (c) and 21 (1) of the GDPR does not indicate that there are restrictions on when a data subject can request the deletion of personal data. After all, Article 21 (1) of the GDPR states that the data subject ' at any time' has the right to object to the processing of personal data concerning him or her for reasons related to his specific situation. The court does not read in the text of Article 21 (1) of the GDPR that the data subject is not permitted to make a repeated request for the deletion of certain personal data within a period of two months after receipt of a negative decision.
4.15.

On the other hand, it follows from the structure of the GDPR that there are limitations to the frequency with which a data subject can exercise his rights. In the first place, reference can be made to Article 12 (5) GDPR , which provides that a controller may refuse to act on a request (as referred to in Articles 15 to 22 GDPR ) if that request is manifestly unfounded or excessive. , especially because of their repetitive nature (italics court). In addition, the preamble to the GDPR includes the following:

“(63)

A data subject should have the right to access the personal data collected about him and to exercise that right simply and at reasonable intervals (court emphasis) so that he can become aware of the processing and its lawfulness of them. (….)

(…)

(65)

A data subject should have the right to have personal data concerning him / her rectified and should have a 'right to be forgotten' where the retention of such data infringes this Regulation or Union or Member State law applicable to the controller . (…) ”
4.16.

Although recital 63 only seems to relate to the exercise of the right of access, in the opinion of the court - whether or not read in conjunction with Article 12 (5) GDPR - it can be read as a connecting factor that the exercise of the rights that the GDPR gives to the data subject is not unlimited and that, in order to protect the legitimate interests of the controller, there are limits to the frequency with which those rights can be exercised. For the moment it is not clear why this should not also apply to the from Articles 17 and 21 GDPR rights arising to delete certain personal data.
4.17.

Google argued at the oral hearing that, on the basis of Article 12 (5) GDPR, it did not have to comply with the repeated requests of [applicant sub 1] et al. Dated September 27, 2019. Google refers to its answer of September 30, 2019, in which the lawyer of [applicant 1] et al. has been communicated. According to Google, as controller it has a legitimate interest in not having to decide continuously on repeated requests and to know within a workable period whether its decision can still be brought before a court.
4.18.

The text of Article 12 (5) GDPR does not contain a clear answer when a request may be dismissed as repetitive, nor whether this can be done, for example, after one repeated deletion request, within two months of receipt of the negative answer. It should be borne in mind that it follows from the preamble to the GDPR that the GDPR aims to provide natural persons with a consistent and high level of protection (recital 10). This may indicate that caution should be exercised with regard to the power of a controller to making a substantive assessment of a deletion request based on Article 12 (5) GDPR refrain from . In addition, it is not clear to the court how this provision relates to the from Article 21 paragraph 1 GDPR right arising , which the data subject can exercise 'at any time'.
4.19.

Furthermore, it is not clear how the submission of a repeated request, relying on the addition 'at all times' in Article 21 GDPR , relates to the situation at issue here, in which the national legislator has set a period of six weeks. for lodging an appeal against a negative decision on an expulsion request and the data subject has allowed that time limit.
4.20.

In itself, Google rightly argues that in practice that period would become a dead letter, if it is possible to submit a new identical request immediately after the expiry of the period, to which the controller must respond substantively, and to which - according to the letter of article 35 UAVG - a legal remedy can be lodged (as yet). This would also frustrate the obvious purpose of that period - namely to provide legal certainty as to whether or not the (legal consequences of) the decision will be upheld.
4.21.

In view of the circumstances in this case, the question also arises whether a role is due to the fact that the person concerned (here: [applicant sub 1] et al.) Was assisted from the outset by a lawyer, who must be considered known with the deadline for submitting a petition and who, according to the statements in the petition, apparently correctly submitted the repeated request because of the (imminent) expiry of the six-week term.
4.22.

In addition, during the oral procedure the question was raised within which period [applicant sub 1] et al. Can submit a new removal request, if Google's position is followed that the repeated request of 30 September 2019 is inadmissible. Google is also of the opinion that in that situation, [applicant under 1] et al. Has the right at any time request on the basis of Article 21 GDPR to submit a new removal . With regard to the period that must then have elapsed since the expiry of the period on the previous request, Google states that the duration thereof cannot be determined precisely but will depend on the circumstances of the case, whereby the time lapse is one of the factors. . In the case of [applicant under 1] et al., In a renewed request for removal of approximately 100 URLs without new facts or circumstances, Google takes the position that a period of two months is not reasonable.
4.23.

To this extent, the parties agree that an uncertain situation will continue to exist even in the event of a declaration of inadmissibility on the basis of article 35 UAVG, because a new request can then be submitted at any time. The intended aim of legal certainty is then also not, or only partially achieved.
4.24.

A further complicating circumstance is that, as is also apparent from the present dispute, a removal request with regard to search results via the Google search engine may appear on a large number of URLs, including additional URLs each time and during the correspondence the data subject can be specified. In that regard, the court also established that it follows from Google's answer of 30 September 2019 that Google has (again) subjected a number of URLs to a substantive assessment. To this extent, Google does not seem the repeated request solely on the basis of Article 12 (5) GDPR to have rejected . In any case, the court undesirable if for each of the various additional requests still own response and limitation periods provided for in Article 12 paragraph 3 AVG and 35, paragraph 2 UAVG, start walking.
4.25.

The court considers it important that more clarity is obtained about the aforementioned legal questions. In particular, the court wonders how the addition 'at all times' of Article 21 GDPR should be interpreted, and whether this article also allows the submission of a repeated request, given that the data subject has left an appeal period for a previously submitted request passed and enjoyed the assistance of a lawyer.
4.26.

These are questions for an interpretation of EU law. The existing case law of the CJEU does not yet clarify this. Nor is the answer to these questions beyond doubt. Further clarity is, however, important for the uniform application of EU law and necessary in order to be able to give judgment. That is why the court sees reason to submit preliminary questions to the CJEU on the basis of Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
4.27.

The court intends to put the following questions to the CJEU:

1. In this case, a data subject has submitted a on Articles 21 (1) and 17 (1) (c) of the GDPR, new request to a data controller (here: Google), based to delete certain search results obtained via an Internet search engine. (such as those of Google) are obtained in a search on his name, after a previous removal request for the same search results on the basis of Article 12 (4) GDPR has been rejected by Google . Article 21 (1) of the GDPR provides that a data subject has the right to object at any time on grounds relating to his or her specific situation to the processing of personal data concerning him / her on the basis of Article 6 (1) (f) of the GDPR . Should Article 21 (1) of the GDPR - and in particular the addition `` at any time '' therein - be interpreted as meaning that a data subject is also permitted, after receiving a negative decision from Google, to request the removal of specific search results, to submit a repeated removal request, i.e. a request requesting removal of the same search results, without submitting - other than the passage of time - with regard to the situation of the data subject changed facts or circumstances compared to the previous (rejected) request?

2. If the answer to question 1 is confirmed, is the controller nevertheless allowed on the basis of Article 12 (5) (b) GDPR to refuse to act on the request due to its repetitive nature?

3. For answering questions 1 and 2, is it still relevant how much time elapsed between the receipt of the controller's negative decision on the previous erasure request and the submission of the new - repeated - request by the data subject? If so, assuming that the data subject has not based his new application with changed facts and circumstances, how long must the minimum elapsed before the data subject can submit a new application?

4. If the answer to question 1 is in the negative and the data subject under Article 21 GDPR is not allowed , at least not within a certain period, to submit a repeated removal request for certain search results, which were also the subject of a previous (rejected) removal request, is the data subject allowed to request the removal of additional search results that were not included in the previous request? If so, in this case there are restrictions on the number of additional erasure requests that a data subject under Articles 17 (1) GDPR and 21 (1) GDPR can submit , also given the provisions of Article 12 (5) GDPR ?

5. Does it make any difference to the answers to the questions under 1, 2, 3 and 4 if a deadline is set in the national law of the Member State within which the person concerned must seek redress (as referred to in Article 79 (1) GDPR )? set against a (negative) decision by a controller on a basis of Article 17 paragraph 1 and 21 paragraph 1 AVG submitted request for deletion of personal data, and that period at the time of filing the repeated request has expired?

6. Does it make any difference to the answer to the questions under 1, 2, 3 and 4 if the person concerned was assisted by a professional legal aid provider, such as a lawyer, at the time of submitting the original (rejected) request?
4.28.

The court will enable the parties to comment on the intention to ask preliminary questions. They can also comment on the proposed questions. Any further decision will be adjourned.
5 The decision

The court
5.1.

stipulates that, if desired, both parties can express their views by deed on the intention of the court to refer questions for a preliminary ruling and on the proposed question no later than 4 January 2021 (at 4:00 pm);
5.2.

holds the case pro forma until the above date and time;
5.3.

suspends any further decision.

This decision was given by mr. HJ Vetter, mr. ML Harmsen and mr. HJ van Harten and pronounced in public on 27 November 2020.