Google Says No Global ‘Right To Be Forgotten’

A French order to apply the "right to be forgotten" to Google searches not just across European domains but globally would risk "serious chilling effects on the Web," according to the Internet search giant. Rather than comply, Google is asking the French agency that issued the order to withdraw it.

France's Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libert├ęs, or CNIL, issued the global delisting order to Google in June, giving the company 15 days to respond. However, the company "respectfully disagree(s) with the CNIL's assertion of global authority on this issue," Google's global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer said in post on the Google Europe blog yesterday.

A spokesperson for the CNIL told us today that the agency has received Google's request for withdrawal, and will respond within the required period of two months. If it denies Google's request, the CNIL reserves the right to impose fines on the search provider, the spokesperson added.

Order: Delist Across All Extensions

Since a 2014 ruling on the "right to be forgotten" by Europe's Court of Justice, citizens in the European Union can ask search engines to remove links to personal information about them that is "inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive." Google has agreed to remove links in 41.3 percent of the requests that Europeans have since submitted, according to the search giant's latest transparency report.

In June, the CNIL -- the designated data protection authority in France -- issued an order to Google that any so-called "delisting" requests granted should apply to searches across the entire Web, rather than to searches on local European sites such as google.fr or google.uk.

"[T]he CNIL considers that in order to be effective, delisting must be carried out on all extensions of the search engine and that the service provided by Google search constitutes a single processing," the agency said in...

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