Google Rejects French Order on World ‘Right to Be Forgotten’

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

CORRECTED(Reuters) – Google Inc is refusing to bow to an order from the French privacy watchdog to scrub search results worldwide when users invoke their “right to be forgotten” online, it said on Thursday, exposing itself to possible fines.Google will disobey a formal notice from France’s privacy watchdog, which has demanded the company extends Europe’s “right to be forgotten” online around the world, in a move that risks further legal action.

The French data protection authority, the CNIL, in June ordered the search engine group to de-list on request search results appearing under a person’s name from all its websites, including In a controversial ruling last year, the European Court of Justice found citizens have the right to ask internet search engines to remove embarrassing or sensitive results that include their name. Google said it had evaluated and processed more than a quarter of a million requests to delist links to more than a million web pages since the ECJ’s ruling. Following several hundred requests from French users, CNIL told Google in June it should apply the ruling globally and remove links from the whole of its network — not just from and other European sites. “As a matter of principle… we respectfully disagree with the CNIL’s assertion of global authority on this issue and we have asked the CNIL to withdraw its Formal Notice,” Google said. However, it has limited removals to its European websites, such as in Germany or in France, arguing that over 95 percent of searches made from Europe are done through local versions of Google.

The Wikipedia information website has described the European ruling as creating “memory holes” in the Internet, while critics of the US Internet giant have said such standards are necessary to protect the privacy of citizens. Contacted by AFP, CNIL confirmed it had received Google’s response, which came a day before a month-long deadline it had given the search giant to make changes in adherence with the law. “We are going to look at the arguments and we will respond to this submission within two months,” a CNIL representative said, refusing to rule out possible financial sanctions.

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