Recently, the privacy regulator of France (CNIL) has rejected Google’s arguments against expanding the “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) to the company’s global index. It’s well known that Google has been limiting RTBF removals to European domains like Google.fr.
The privacy regulators in Europe feel that by being given the ability to access Google.com to access “removed” content completely undermines RTBF. Google has been threatened with sanctions by the French if they fail to remove RTBF links form all its domains globally.
I do see where the French privacy regulators are coming from, as simply accessing Google.com can ruin the efforts made by RTBF to keep “removed” content from being seen. So from that standpoint, there is certainly some legitimacy to the French and European arguments about this circumvention. France is trying to European law on Google across the globe. Personally, I don’t think this will hold water, as we’re talking about European law here. One country’s law doesn’t really hold any relevance in another. This French action is not only unjustified, but it can can create a precedent that other countries could end up following to censor content that they deem offensive.
Google has said that CNIL doesn’t have any jurisdiction and authority to impose a global ban on disputed RTBF links, and in turn, CNIL has disagreed with this characterization, seeing itself as merely trying to enforce the law in France and Europe.
In the end, it’s possible that this case could find itself in front of the European Court of Justice Luxembourg, who created the RTBF in the first place. If the court with CNIL, the matter could presumably become one for international diplomacy.