Google Fights France To Prevent Globalization Of The Right-to-Be-Forgotten

Google mobile smartphones blue ss 1920 800x450After France coming out swinging saying that they want a globalization of Right To Be Forgotten, Google has formally appealed their data protection authority’s order that would apply to RTBF removals to the global index.  The Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) protested the Europe-only removal policy, feeling that they have failed to apply the rule on a worldwide basis.  Because of this, the CNIL has threatened to fine the company €150,000 ($169,000).

Previously Google said that it would limit RTBF to European users:

We’ve been working hard to strike the right balance in implementing the European Court’s ruling, co-operating closely with data protection authorities. The ruling focused on services directed to European users, and that’s the approach we are taking in complying with it.

After getting the RTBF procedure in affect, Google made it more difficult for Europeans to get to Google.com.

The CNIL issued an order and ultimatum to Google because French and other European privacy regulators feel that the RTBF is undermined by the retention of content in the Google.com index.

But now, Google had decided to appeal that order in French court.  But it looks like there’s more than one front of attack in this battle.  Canada is trying to get Google to surpress results on a global basis as well.

This is what Google’s Global Privacy Council Peter Fleischer said about the French case in a blog post:

We’ve worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe, and we’ll continue to do so. But as a matter of principle, we respectfully disagree with the idea that a national data protection authority can assert global authority to control the content that people can access around the world . . .

We believe that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access. We also believe this order is disproportionate and unnecessary, given that the overwhelming majority of French internet users—currently around 97%—access a European version of Google’s search engine like google.fr, rather than Google.com or any other version of Google.

If Google complied with a global RTBF, then this means opening the door to other countries’ efforts to attempt to remake the internet according to their biases and standards.  As an example, India could try blocking content it saw as “offensive” or “objectionable” in accordance with their own legal standards.

Although I understand the French’s point of view, as it seems unfair that Europe is the only one under this new rule, and everybody else seems exempt from it, is it right to make everybody deal with RTBF just because your country fought to enact the ruling?

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