Google Forced to Remove Personal Information

Google was recently forced to de-index information about an Icelander following a ruling by the Icelandic Data Protection Authority.

See also: Police Deactivate Facebook Page over Data Safety Concerns

The decision concerned a man in a management position. When he first approached Google with his request, it was claimed that the nature of his position made information about him in the public interest.

Appealing the case to the Icelandic Data Protection Authority, the agency ruled that the so-called “right to be forgotten” was applicable to the case.

An excerpt from the decision reads as follows: “In certain cases, people may have the right to have information displayed about them in search engines, eg on Google, removed. Although the results are removed from search engines, the content will still be on the Internet, but in some cases it is also possible to get it removed. In this case, it was considered that the complainant’s privacy interests and his right to be forgotten outweighed the public’s interest in having access to the said information about him. It was therefore proposed to Google LLC to remove certain websites from the search results for the complainant’s name in the Google search engine.”

Given the private nature of the information, further information about the complainant was withheld from the report.

A redacted version of the decision can be read, in Icelandic, here.

No Further Restrictions for Chinese Travellers

Keflavík airport Icelandair

A recent memorandum by epidemiologist Guðrún Aspelund to Icelandic Minister of Health, Willum Þór Þórsson, has recommended against the introduction of border measures aimed at travellers from China.

In light of recent spikes there following the relaxation of China’s strict “No COVID” policy, the possibility of re-introducing border screening for Chinese travellers had been discussed, in line with similar measures taken by nations such as the United States, United Kingdom, and India.

Read more: Possible Restrictions for Travellers from China

The memorandum followed the January 4 meeting of the European Union’s Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) council, which aimed at coordinating the European response to the spread of COVID-19 in China.

However, Guðrún Aspelund’s recent memorandum on the matter concluded that she found no reason to introduce border restrictions at this time: “As it stands today, the evidence does not, in my opinion, recommend the introduction of measures at the border due to COVID-19 to protect public health, nor measures specifically aimed at passengers with China as a country of departure. We will update and distribute relevant guidelines to travellers. Sampling of random passengers arriving in Keflavík may be considered if there is evidence of a new variant that should be monitored.”

Guðrún Aspelung likewise pointed out that a majority of the Icelandic population has now received three doses of the vaccine, while a majority of the elderly population has received a fourth dose, further lessening the need for restrictions.

The memorandum also states that increased international monitoring and information collected by European nations with direct flight connections to China may give cause for a reassessment of the risk level in the coming weeks.

Reykjanesbær to Accept 350 Refugees

refugees iceland

Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Market, Kjartan Már Kjartansson, Mayor of Reykjanesbær, and Nichole Leigh Mosty, Director of the Multicultural Center, have signed an agreement to accept 350 refugees in Reykjanesbær.

Together with PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir and representatives from the municipal council, they worked to coordinate a plan for accommodating a number of refugees in the coming year, in line with several other recent agreements in Reykjavík, Árborg, and Akureyri.

See also: Reykjavík Commits to Accepting 1,500 Refugees Next Year 

The agreement was signed Monday, January 9, at Reykjanesbær town hall.

The agreement will apply to people who have received asylum status or residence permits on the grounds of humanitarian reasons. The goal of the agreement is to ensure a standardized reception of refugees across municipalities.

Kjartan Már Kjartansson, mayor of Reykjanesbær,  said in a statement: “There is a lot of accumulated knowledge and experience in these matters in Reykjanesbær, which is important to continue using. Reykjanesbær is ready to share this knowledge with all the municipalities that plan to participate in this important project. In light of the new emphasis and the increased cooperation between the state and municipalities on the coordinated reception of refugees, it was decided to formalize a new agreement between Reykjanesbær and the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Labour Market. Reykjanesbær encourages all municipalities to show social responsibility and take part in welcoming displaced people.”

Reykjanesbær has been working in coordination with national authorities for many years on accepting refugees, in addition to participating in a pilot project for the standardized reception of refugees.

Also discussed was a framework for accepting unaccompanied children, the amount of which has grown in recent years.