The “right to be forgotten” ruling, which was passed by the European Court of Justice in 2014, allows individuals to request Google to remove certain information about them from its search engine. The interpretation of this ruling has been the source of an open stand-off between Google, which filters 90 per cent of Europe’s internet traffic, and privacy regulators from the European Union.
In June, a French court decided that the right to be forgotten ruling should be applied on all of Google’s domains, whereas currently the company applies it only on domains related to the EU. For example, links which are not shown after successful requests under this ruling on a google.fr search would still appear if the search was being done with google.com.
The company is contesting this order and formally asked the French regulator, which goes under the name Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL), to withdraw the order in a statement issued by its privacy chief Peter Fleischer.
The statement, released under the form of a blog post, specifically said that Google will not comply with the order, as it claims that a national privacy regulator does not have the right to modify what content may be accessed by people around the world. Fleischer also criticized the proposed approach itself, claiming that it might pave way for a non-exclusive type of internet censorship.
In response, the CNIL, through the voice of director Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, has threatened the Silicon Valley giant with financial sanctions should it not comply with its ruling. Google had until the end of July to implement the ruling; now, it is eligible to face a fine of $330,000 for non-compliance, which is admittedly a low sum for a company whose worth can be estimated in an 11-figure sum.
Besides clashes with regulators over the right to be forgotten, Google is standing on a tense situation in Europe due to the antitrust case brought forth by the European Commission. Two investigations are currently underway regarding the manner in which the company used its position as market behemoth; with some of its competitors accusing it of abusing the power its 90 per cent market share offers to their detriment.
Image Source: The Guardian