France rejects Google’s appeal on right to be forgotten

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

France Rejects Google’s Efforts to Limit Application of Privacy Ruling.

On Monday, the country’s data protection authority rejected Google’s efforts to limit how a landmark European privacy ruling may be applied worldwide.

Google Inc.’s informal appeal of a French data-protection watchdog’s call to extend the so-called right to be forgotten to all its websites was rejected by the regulator, opening up the Internet search provider to possible fines.The Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) ordered Google in May to apply RTBF removals not only to the company’s European domains such as google.co.uk or google.fr, but to the search engine’s global domain google.com. That privacy decision was handed down last year by Europe’s top court, and allowed anyone with connections to Europe to request that global search engines remove links to items about themselves from queries.

Google must delist requested links across its network, France’s data protection commissioner said as it rejected the Mountain View, California-based tech giant’s objections. Google filed an informal appeal in July against the order to the president of CNIL, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, claiming that it would impede the public’s right to information, was a form of censorship and “risks serious chilling effects on the web”. A previous ruling said that when Google received requests from European citizens to remove search results linking to stories deemed “inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant”, the removals should be applied worldwide. Falque-Pierrotin has rejected the appeal, saying that once a delisting has been accepted under the RTBF ruling it must be applied across all extensions of the search engine and that not doing so allows the ruling to easily be circumvented. CNIL said in a statement: “Contrary to what Google has stated, this decision does not show any willingness on the part of the CNIL to apply French law extraterritorially.

It simply requests full observance of European legislation by non European players offering their services in Europe.” The rejection of the appeal means that Google now must comply with the order and remove the hundreds of thousands of delistings from its google.com and other non-European domains for named searches. Having lost the appeal, Google must now remove thousands of entries from Google.com as French law does not give the company the right for further appeal. The watchdog also said that once Google had agreed to remove the links, the company was required to apply the decision across all of its domains, not just those in Europe.

The Guardian explains that if Google fails to comply, fines could be levied against Google, who would then be able to appeal against the financial penalty. The regulator rejected an assertion by Google that it was trying to extend French control over how people around the world retrieve online information.

A Google spokesman said: “We’ve worked hard to implement the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe, and we’ll continue to do so. In a blog post published in July, Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, said that no country should control the type of online content available in other nations. He added that such practices could lead to multiple countries’ trying to outdo one another with strict rules, which could eventually reduce all types of materials that are available online. France’s efforts to regulate online privacy come as people in the country remain the most active in Europe when it comes to seeking the removal of online links about themselves. So far, more than 66,000 such requests based on almost 220,000 online links have been submitted by people living in France, the largest figure of any European country, according to Google’s latest transparency report.

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