Wednesday, 25 September 2019 06:48

Victory for Google as court rules right to be forgotten extends only to EU Featured

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Victory for Google as court rules right to be forgotten extends only to EU Pixabay

Google has won an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union, in which it asked for a change in a 2015 order by the French Data Protection Authority, CNIL, asking it to extend the right to be forgotten to all its domains.

The search giant had refused to obey the order and had removed the data in question only from domains it operates in member states of the European Union.

Google had asked the Conseil d’État (Council of State in France) to annul the ruling, saying it did not consider that the right to be forgotten extended beyond the EU. But the CNIL did not do so, and fined the search giant €100,000 in 2016 for not obeying the order.

The verdict was not unexpected as an adviser to the court had supported Google's case back in January.

The initial order to Google came from the EU in 2014. A ruling 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 wanted the right to be forgotten to extend around the globe, no matter where one viewed search results from Google.

A statement from the court on Tuesday said: "Currently, there is no obligation under EU law for a search engine operator who grants a request for de-referencing made by a data subject, as the case may be, following an injunction from a supervisory or judicial authority of a Member State, to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine.

"However, EU law requires a search engine operator to carry out such a de-referencing on the versions of its search engine corresponding to all the Member States and to take sufficiently effective measures to ensure the effective protection of the data subject’s fundamental rights."

In 2017, 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.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came 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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