I agree with you in relation to Data Protection Act, I don't think it even applies here.
Data protection act is about companies keeping private information on you and the terms under which they are allowed to do so.
But having researched a little, this court action is based on an EU directive in 1995 specifying privacy rules and data protection. As I understand it, (and I'm not an expert), EU member states have to enshrine in their own country legislation those EU directives.
I wonder if UK data protection legislation does include it?
The EU rule is to do with a company deleting personal data at the request of the individual. That seems fair and reasonable, we should be able to request a private company to delete data they hold on us, but this rule shouldn't really apply to Google, they're not actually holding the data, they're linking to it and it's held in the system of another company.
The European Court of Justice disagreed.
I can't believe the EC directive of 1995 ( or any other) forces a company to retain personal information if it is in the public interest to do do. This introduces a whole new can of worms, who decides if it is in the public interest? Google? And what if their view on a particular piece of data is different to a court of law?
The concept of being 'in the public interest' applies to organisations with the power to prosecute, such as the crown prosecution service, where they have the ability to make a decision to prosecute and the criteria for doing so is "in the public interest", but in the now case of Google, to have two parties making the determination of whether the data held is in the public interest or not, Google and the ECJ (or another court), gives rise to a difference of opinion and Google risk being prosecuted for every breach in the future where it has made a determination which is in opposition to a court of law. It's a farce.
How does a company resolve such a matter and prevent it self from being prosecuted? Is it to have every decision it is thinking of making in relation to the deletion of data reviewed by the ECJ or some other court first, so that it can then make the same decision and prevent a prosecution from occurring?
It's not practical. And I don't think the ECJ has this particularly well thought out.
The fundamental issue in this I feel is that of the actual companies publishing the personal data in the first place. If an individual doesn't want their old historic data to be viewed, they need to go to the companies and their websites which are the publishers of the data and not Google and request deletion of the data, issue take down notices.
If that were to be enforced, the legal mechanisms put in place to allow that to happen (not saying it's easy with the original information can be distributed across web servers in different countries and there then becomes a problem of jurasdiction) then these conflicts about data being in the public interest and courts of law trying to dictate to private companies what data they should retain go away.