Google has turned down an order from a French data protection agency to delete search results globally when users opt for the “right to be forgotten” online. CNIL, the French data protection authority, ordered the search giant in June to “de-list” search results in relation to “right to be forgotten” from all its sites including Google.com. The Internet firm made its stance clear on the order on Thursday, exposing itself to possible fines.
Such an order against Internet freedom
In June, CNIL instructed the search giant to delete the links not only from the Europe versions such as Google.fr or Google.de (Germany), but also from all other versions including Google.com.
Turning down the order, the U.S. firm explained in a blog post, it believes one country should not have the authority to decide the content that can or can’t be viewed in other countries. Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel said they have worked hard to process right to be forgotten in Europe. “But as a matter of principle, therefore, we respectfully disagree with the CNIL’s assertion of global authority on this issue and we have asked the CNIL to withdraw its formal notice.”
Google argues if the right to be forgotten is passed worldwide, it would definitely set forth a “race to the bottom” where the Internet would lose its freedom.
CNIL may impose fine on Google
CNIL said that they would consider Google’s request, and then decide whether to accept it or not. If the agency turn’s down the request, the internet firm may face fines, which may not be much considering the firm’s turnover.
“We have taken note of Google’s arguments which are partly of a political nature. The CNIL, on the other hand, has relied on a strictly legal reasoning,” said a spokeswoman.
It all started from May last year, when the European Court of Justice passed a rule, the so-called right to be forgotten rule, enabling European residents to ask the search engines like Google or Microsoft Corp’s Bing to delete results appearing under their name that are outdated, irrelevant or inflammatory. Google, in its transparency report, claimed that they have been received more than a quarter million “forgotten” requests, and it has accepted 41% of the requests.