Google fights France on extending ‘right to be forgotten’

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Appeals French Order to Apply Right to Be Forgotten Globally.

Right now, if you live in France and ask for your name and any associated Web sites to be removed from Google search results, the company will de-list the results, provided your request meets a few requirements.LUXEMBOURG — Google is pushing back against France’s data privacy authority after the watchdog ordered the search engine giant to extend the so-called right to be forgotten to its websites globally. France’s data protection authority CNIL should withdraw an ultimatum threatening Google with fines unless it delists requested links across its network, the Mountain View, California-based company said in a blog post Thursday. “We respectfully disagree with the CNIL’s assertion of global authority on this issue,” Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, said in the post. To further protect people’s privacy, France has asked that Google not only respond to “right-to-be-forgotten” requests by scrubbing them from the French Google, but also from all versions of Google around the world.

The CNIL said Thursday that it would take up to two months to consider Google’s appeal before deciding whether to withdraw its order, or open sanctions proceedings that could lead to an initial fine of up to €150,000 ($165,000) against the online-search firm—a relatively small penalty compared with Google’s annual revenue of $66 billion. This debate raises familiar tensions between privacy and expression; it’s a struggle that has played out over Facebook’s real-name policy, over the online harassment that occurs on sites such as Reddit, and in other online spaces, too.

Google has to vet take-down requests itself, which requires weighing an individual’s privacy rights against the public interest in connecting that individual to a given internet link. You might be familiar with the idea of state sovereignty — the notion that a government has an internationally recognized authority over its own territory.

They say Google’s approach makes it easy to find private information that individuals had wanted removed by searching its non-European sites, undermining the ruling in Europe. “We have noted Google’s arguments, which are in part political. She currently also heads the group of EU data protection commissioners who urged Google to remove links, when needed, from .com sites and not just from European sites. The CNIL for its part has relied only on legal reasoning,” a CNIL spokeswoman said. “There is no effectiveness if the right is applied only in Europe.” The CNIL had initially given Google 15 days to comply with the order when it was issued in late May, but had later extended the deadline to the end of July.

In a statement of objections they accused the Internet giant of abusing its dominance of the search-engine market and on the same day started a new investigation into Google’s Android mobile-phone software. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said this month she sees no need to wait to finish her current case before filing new antitrust complaints against the company.

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