Data protection regulator in France decided that Google must censor the “right to be forgotten” on a global basis. The French CNIL refused to compromise. Now, Google appeals this decision on the most important court of France.
The “Right to be Forgotten” Issue
In 2014, Google was also obliged to remove old and irrelevant links when people are searching for their names. Thus, the company removed almost 440,000 links to comply with this decision. But 608,169 links are still pending request.
Only 10,000 links have been removed from the Facebook website, even if the search deal between the social network and Google had expired in 2010. Google Groups, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter also are listed as having the fewest links removed.
In the last two years, Google has declined 70% of the requests on the “right to be forgotten”.
The objective of the regulators is to protect personal data privacy and limit the personal information that appears on Internet searches. For example, a user could ask Google to remove links to his old social media profiles that show up in internet searches.
Google tried to suggest CNIL that the “right to be forgotten” could be enforced in Europe (for example, Google.fr and google.de) while not being applied on the global site (google.com). This was not accepted by the French regulatory.
As Google refused to delist domains worldwide, CNIL set a fine of $112,000. Google took the matters to court.
Google explains the refuse by stating that France is asking for a limitation of the right to access information. This can set out a dangerous precedent. Other countries could feel the need also to set restrictions on reasons that may or may not be aligned with human rights.
The company mentions that this discussion is not merely theoretical. Requests have been received to limit the right of privacy. Should any of these requests be granted, users may not have access to content created in other countries. The internet will cease to be free.
The French regulatory decision is supported by the European Union as a data protection issue. Even in the US, a request had been filed by an advocacy group – to which Google had yet to respond.
If Google loses the appeal, the next available action will be to forward the matter to the European Court of Justice. The company is already involved in an antitrust investigation on a European level which could also affect the search engine.
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