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Google ignores French order over right to be forgotten

Google points out that right to be forgotten 'is not the law globally.'

By CBR Staff Writer

Google has rejected a French regulator’s order to globally apply the right to be forgotten, which requires the search engine firm to remove links to certain data about users if asked.

Earlier this summer, France’s data protection regulator, the CNIL, sent a formal notice to Google ordering it to delist links not just from all European versions of search but also globally.

The CNIL’s request was an extension of the May 2014 ruling from the European Union Court of Justice that enables citizens to ask companies for delisting certain links from results that they believe are having irrelevant data about them.

Google global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer wrote in a blogpost that the CNIL’s request was a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web.

He said: "While the right to be forgotten may now be the law in Europe, it is not the law globally.

"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 said the CNIL’s order was disproportionate because 97% of French internet users currently access a European version of its search engine such as, instead of or any other version.

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Fleischer said: "If the CNIL’s proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for Internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world’s least free place."

Earlier this month, Google inadvertently leaked data on the requests it has processed in the last year on fears that public figures would seek to censor their online history under the right to be forgotten.

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