Google rejects France’s demands on global privacy, despite the French Watchdog’s efforts to make the “right to be forgotten” imposed as a global policy. The media giant has explained that what France demands is “disproportionate and unnecessary” and that it is absolutely unacceptable that one country alone would have the authority to alter global polices.
Google officials have pointed out that every country has its a certain type of data that it considers absolutely inappropriate and that it would want excluded from the global search results. While changing the way that local Google search engines work is one thing, as these being in line with the country’s demands does not affect what the entire world sees, the universal version of the search engine, Google.com needs to remain objective.
If Google would make changes to Google.com because France wanted the “right to be forgotten” to apply globally, this could set a dangerous precedent for specific requests from any given other country, that could include a wide range of discriminating factors.
“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,” pointed out Peter Fleischer, Google’s Global Privacy Counsel in a blog post.
Fleischer also pointed out that the majority of the French people, actually approximately 97% of them, use Google.fr and not Google.com and that the right to be forgotten will be respected on this local platform. However, the French Watchdog, locally known as CNIL, has explained that the information that people remove from the French Google would still be present on Google.com and that therefore, the change is ineffective.
Fleischer explained that this is a a very intricate matter and that France’s requests are impossible to meet, that the local change on Google.fr is the best it could offer and that it intends to offer nothing more than this.
However, the French Data Protection Authority, the CNIL is not ready to settle for this local victory and it aims to pursue this matter until it sees it resolved in its entirety, which cannot mean anything else than global change.
It remains to be seen how this matter will be ultimately resolved, as neither parties are willing to change their views.
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