Home Technology Regulation Google to fight 'right to be forgotten' extension across globe
Google to fight 'right to be forgotten' extension across globe Pixabay

A 2015 order from the French privacy regulator, CNIL, to Google, telling the search engine company to extend the European Union's so-called "right to be forgotten" to all its websites around the globe will be appealed by Google on Tuesday.

The dispute, that will come before the EU's Court of Justice in Luxembourg, is the most prominent case to test the limits of jurisdiction with regards to data, The Wall Street Journal  reported.

The initial order to Google came from the EU in 2014 as iTWire reported. A ruling by the Court of Justice in May that year found that European law gave people the right to ask search engines like Google to remove results for queries that included their names.

Google then made the changes needed to implement the order in all European countries. The French application wants the right to be forgotten to extend around the globe, no matter where one views search results from Google.

The WSJ report said CNIL had fined Google €100,000 (US$116,295) when it did not comply. The French argument is that if one can dodge the right to be forgotten by using a VPN and spoofing one's location, then it is of no use.

Google's counter-argument is that extending this right around the world would give the rulers of countries where democracy is absent to dictate what others who are not in those countries could see online.

Last year, the Canadian Supreme Court told Google to block search results which were linked to a company alleged to be stealing trade secrets in Canada. An American judge later declared that this order could not be enforced in the US.

But Google finally agreed to comply with the Canadian ruling, which is still in place.

A number of organisations that campaign for freedom of the press will join Google in court. The group, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said that if the court ruled against Google, it would have "grave" consequences.

“There would be nothing to prevent other jurisdictions from claiming the same global scope of application for their own laws,” the group wrote in a brief to the court. “The result would be a ‘race to the bottom,’ as speech prohibited by any one country could effectively be prohibited for all, on a world-wide basis.”

iTWire has asked Google what it plans to do in the event that it loses the appeal.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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