Regions

Google Fined by France Authority Over Privacy Issues Regarding the “Right to be Forgotten"

March 25
12:04 AM 2016

Google is facing a fine of 100,000 euros ($111,720) from France's data protection authority regarding the "right to be forgotten". The French authority Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL) accused the tech giant for not fully complying with the European privacy demands across its global domains.

The "right to be forgotten" was first issued by European Court of Justice in 2014, demanding that search engines including Google provide privacy for anyone with connections to Europe who ask for it. The privacy is given by removing links about the people who ask for it from online search results globally. 

Following the court order, Google complied with the policy. However, as reported by Fortune, it only scrubbed results across its European websites such as Germany's Google.de and France's Google.fr, even though the CNIL has ordered the tech company to expand its application of the ruling to all its domains including Google.com. The order was issued May last year, considering the ease of switching from a European domain to Google.com.

Google, which had implemented the policy in Europe, argued that applying the ruling worldwide would violate the freedom of expression. CNIL stated how it disagrees on that. "Contrary to Google's statements, applying delisting to all of the extensions does not curtail freedom of expression insofar as it does not entail any deletion of content from the internet," stated the CNIL. "At a physical person's request, it simply removes any links to website pages from the list of search results generated by running a search on the person's first name and surname. These pages can still be accessed when the search is performed using other terms," the agency added, quoted by DW.

Google has responded to the agency's demand, saying that the company will appeal with their ruling. "As a matter of principle, we disagree with the CNIL's assertion that it has the authority to control the content that people can access outside France, and we plan to appeal their ruling," said Google's spokesperson Al Verney, as quoted by Reuters. The company claimed to have implement the "right to be forgotten ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe", but will try to limit the ruling in Europe instead of applying in globally as demanded by CNIL.

French authority agency CNIL rejected Google's approach to applying the "right to be forgotten" only in Europe, demanding the tech company to comply with the ruling worldwide and fining it $111,720 for not doing that by now. CNIL argued that a person's right to privacy should not depend on the geographic origin of those viewing the search results, so the ruling should be applied globally. 

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