Google Contests Worldwide ‘Right to be Forgotten’ Order
The search engine giant is all geared up for a fight in France. On Thursday, Google Inc. said that it wouldn’t comply with the demands made by the privacy regulator of the country who had declared that the company should apply a European data protection ruling to all the global domains it has. The standoff pertains to a legal decision that was taken last year by Europe’s top court, which allowed anyone having connections to the region to put forward a request of removing the links about her or him from the search engine results. This right to be forgotten ruling pitted the firm, which has about 90% of Europe’s market share, against some of the privacy regulators in the region.
The decision also has to be followed by other search engines in the region, which includes Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Google accepted the decision to a length stating that it would remove the links from its European domains such as Google.fr, but refused to apply the decision to some of its other domains, which also includes its global Google.com. In response to Google’s statement, several privacy regulators of Europe led by the head of the French data protection authority, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, have declared that the links must be removed by Google on its worldwide domains as well or the company will have to face financial penalties.
The global privacy counsel of the company, Peter Fleischer, said in a blog post that no country should have the power to control the type of content available online in other countries. He added that such practices could actually lead to competition between the countries as each would try to outdo the other in terms of applying strict rules, which could lead a reduction in all types of content available online. Making a reference to the French privacy regulator called Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, Mr. Fleischer said in a blog post that we would be racing to the bottom if the approach proposed by C.N.I.L was actually accepted as standard internet regulation.
He asserted that eventually, the internet would become the least free place in the world. The French regulator said that they had gotten Google’s statement and they would provide a response in the next two months. The regulator said that their decision was based on legal reasoning while the arguments made by Google were somewhat political. The C.N.I.L had announced their decision in early June and had given the company till the end of July to comply with it. The regulator has the power to impose fines on those who fail to comply with its data protection rules, which can be as high as $330,000.
After Google failed to comply with the demands of the French regulator to apply the right to be forgotten rule to its worldwide domains, it will now have to fight the case in local courts, which could last for several years. Since the rule was first introduced, around 60,000 requests have been made from France as opposed to another country.