Google to France: We’re Not Expanding the ‘Right to be Forgotten’

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

CEO Daily: Friday, July 31.

When French regulator CNIL told Google it must apply “right to be forgotten” requests globally last month, it gave the company 15 days to comply or face further action.

The CNIL wanted the American company to widen its implementation of the so-called European ‘right to be forgotten.’ In its current implementation, Google only delists results from the Google.fr subdomain, and the CNIL wants global delistings. 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 Google.com. Google came out with a firm answer to that question yesterday – “Mais, non!” – setting the stage for a showdown that has profound implications for the global Internet. In a blog post, Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel at Google, called CNIL’s order “disproportionate and unnecessary,” arguing that if it had obeyed its demand, France would essentially set the standard for internet regulation. Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts has written a smart story on yesterday’s developments, but the gist is this: Last year, the European Court of Justice issued its “right to be forgotten” decision forcing Google to remove certain links from search results.

In May 2014, a European ruling stated that search engines had to process requests from individuals wanting outdated, inaccurate or irrelevant information delisted from a search result for their name. Since then, the company has been flooded with a quarter million requests to do so, and has been struggling to develop a methodology to decide which ones to honor. However, it has limited removals to its European websites, such as Google.de in Germany or Google.fr in France, arguing that over 95 per cent of searches made from Europe are done through local versions of Google.

Then, French regulators said it’s not enough for Google to strip search results from European web pages (google.fr, google.de, etc.); it must take them down worldwide. However, European regulators and some legal experts think Google ought to apply the ruling globally as it is too easy to circumvent it by switching from one version of Google to another. And speaking of Europe, my former colleagues at the Pew Research Center recently published results from their Global Attitudes survey showing just how disunited the European Union has become. We felt this statistic really says a lot about the state of global banking today: Over the past five years, U.S. banks have added a total of $254.6 billion in market capitalization, while the Europeans have gained just $9.5 billion. It is also using a new strategy this time, saying that complying with the CNIL would set a bad precedent. “Moreover, there are innumerable examples around the world where content that is declared illegal under the laws of one country, would be deemed legal in others: Thailand criminalizes some speech that is critical of its King, Turkey criminalizes some speech that is critical of Ataturk, and Russia outlaws some speech that is deemed to be ‘gay propaganda,’” Fleischer wrote.

This explains why Europe’s top banks have recently been pulling back from a number of countries and businesses, while U.S. rivals seem poised to pounce on the opportunity. WSJ (subscription required) The social-media website has developed a massive, solar-powered aircraft that will be responsible for beaming Internet signals back to rural areas on Earth that lack the kind of communications infrastructure needed to maintain Internet connectivity. Wired Some revised data has led to a disappointing discovery: the U.S. economy grew slower than previously estimated from 2012 to 2014, after a new government approach to gross domestic product addressed flows in how the report is produced. Over that time period, the U.S. expanded at an average 2% rate each year, instead of the 2.3% that was reported under the old method of calculating GDP.

MarketWatch Huey-yuan Yang, who manages the equivalent of $169 million for a HSBC fund in Taiwan, is among the investors that say the recent sell off in China hasn’t changed their investment view. In fact, he says he sees a “buying-on-dip” opportunity amid “abnormal declines.” Bloomberg polled fund managers in the Greater China region and found many plan to stick with the Chinese market, despite massive volatility and worries about state intervention. Bloomberg A rivalry with a local taxi-hailing company is driving Uber to invest $1 billion into its operations in the Asian country, with hopes to fend off a fairly strong competitor. The investment in India should help Uber reach 1 million daily rides in India, as the company hopes to expand beyond the 18 Indian cities where it currently operates.

Fortune Diageo and other major spirits companies are quickly expanding across Africa, targeting even the poorest consumers with liquor made locally and sold at dirt-cheap prices. The market is emerging as the final frontier for many of these firms, as only 2% of the industry’s profits came from Africa and the Middle East as recently as 2013.

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