eraserIt seems France s putting the hammer down on Google, as they are pressuring Google to apply the Right to Be Forgotten (RTBF) globally “to all domains” by issuing an ultimatum.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the head of France’s regulator CNIL says that “for delisting to be effective, it must be world-wide.”

So far, the only location that Google has de-indexed content has been European domains.  In Google’s defense, they did make it a bit more challenging to get to Google.com from within Europe.  The search company says that because RTBF is a European law, it should apply only to content shown in that country, and not anywhere else in the Google.com index.

In the eyes of French and many European privacy regulators, the RTBF is undermined by the retention of de-indexed content in the Google.com index.  Because of this CNIL is giving Google 15 days to comply with their demands.  If Google doesn’t comply, they’ll face sanctions that will result in a potential fine of €150,000 ($169,000).  Google would be able to challenge the sanctions, if applied, in court.

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It seems that in this case, Google is in the right, and that neither CNIL or any European regulator should be able to control content outside their immediate jurisdictions.  There isn’t any legal jurisdiction over Google outside of their territorial domain.

The idea behind RTBF is the attempt to balance European citizens’ legitimate privacy interests with he public’s “right to know.”  Online publications aren’t required to change or remove content they have on their sites.  RTBF only applies to search engine results and not the original publishers of the content in question.

Out of the reported 270,000 removal requests covering almost a million disputed links, only about 41 percent of those were requests were actually granted.

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