Google Inc May Have To Extend EU Privacy Rules To U.S. Site

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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) might be required to apply the ‘right to be forgotten’ beyond the European Union. A report from Business Week, citing two people familiar with the matter, says this may  come to pass under new rules being formulated by EU privacy regulators.

Google may be restricted

A meeting of EU privacy regulators is scheduled in Brussels, and they are expected to make a decision on this issue. Once the final decision is made, the Mountain View, California-based company would likely be required to apply those requests to the primary Google.com site in the U.S also, notes the report. As of now, the company routinely notifies the media about the story links it removes, but after the new regulations come into effect, it could be rebuked for doing so.

Links that are still viewable in the EU, but fall outside the bloc of Google sites could also be subject to the new regulations. Regulators have been complaining that the information blocked on the EU websites is easily accessible through Google sites of other countries. The user just has to change a few characters on the browser address line.

Decision expected soon

The EU’s top court made a ruling in the month of May, according to which an individual could ask the internet giant to have related links that are outdated or irrelevant removed. Last month, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said that the ruling would not extend to the U.S. site given that fewer than 5% of EU user searches are handled by Google.com.

Since the EU ruling in May, Google has removed 41.5% (or 208,520 links) of a total of 502,977 links it has evaluated, according to the company’s transparency report. To date, the internet giant has received 174,226 requests for removal. In U.S. and the U.K., the right to be forgotten has been criticized by many on the ground that it restricts free speech.

The new guidelines will be presented by the head of the group of EU regulators, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, in Brussels today. Sources note that some modifications could be made to the ruling as meetings of the EU regulators are still ongoing.

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