As Google reorganizes and recites its ABCs, we turn to another newsworthy item involving the search engine giant. Recently, Google refused to comply with the French data protection authority’s order to scrub web results worldwide when users invoke their “right to be forgotten.”
Per a Reuters report, in June, the French watchdog group, the CNIL, ordered Google to “de-list on request search results appearing under a person’s name from all its websites, including Google.com.” This followed a May 2014 ruling by the European Court of Justice that stated that European residents could ask search engines, like Google, to delete search results for their name when these results are “out of date, irrelevant or inflammatory.”
While Google has complied with this ruling — accepting 41 percent of the quarter million-plus removal requests received — it has limited these removals to its European websites only (ex: Google.fr in France) and not implemented them worldwide, asserting that more than 95 percent of searches made from Europe are done through local versions of Google.
According to Reuters, Google disagrees with the French order and believes that a single country shouldn’t have authority over content that users from a different country may access. The search engine believes it’s a matter of principle and asks that the CNIL withdraw its formal notice.
The CNIL stated that it will review Google’s appeal and make a decision in two months. If it’s rejected, Google may face fines. Of note, the CNIL calls Google’s refusal and reasoning as “partly of a political nature,” while the CNIL believes it “has relied on a strictly legal reasoning.”
While Google’s advisors believe that the de-listing is “too controversial without an international agreement,” others, including European regulators and legal experts, believe that Google should comply with the ruling worldwide as it is “too easy to circumvent it by switching from one version of Google to another.”
What do you think? Should Google give a good scrubbing worldwide when online users invoke their “right to be forgotten” or limit it?