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France Wants ‘Right to be Forgotten’ Enforced Outside of EU

September 21, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

Those of you who follow news outside of just the Android side of Google might remember the controversial ‘Right to be Forgotten‘ ruling in Europe. Essentially, what this ruling meant for Google was that those from within the EU could ask for search results to be removed under the basis that they might have served their time, been wrongly accused or that they simply wanted to move on with their lives. This caused quite a stir in the Net Neutrality movement, and some were accusing the EU of wanting to rewrite history, and abusing their power in telling Google how to conduct themselves. Google complied and if you search from within the EU for certain topics, you might see the now familiar warning from Google that some results have been removed. For France’s Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes, also known as the CNIL, or France’s privacy police, Google isn’t taking things far enough.

In a nutshell, the French now want these search results that have been deemed ‘Forgotten’ to not be displayed outside the EU as well. Despite the fact that the ruling was decided for the EU, and not elsewhere around the globe, it seems strange the French body is trying to push this ruling on to other regions. As Google have argued, it seems unreasonable that the Internet giant be asked to force changes upon North American users, for instance, decided a world away in the EU. The French disagree, and say that “this decision does not show any willingness on the part of the CNIL to to apply French law extraterritorially.” This doesn’t make much sense, frankly. If the French authorities wish to impose the Right to be Forgotten ruling and its consequences on its citizens and other nations within the EU, that’s understandable, but to ask Google to do so worldwide, away from the EU doesn’t seem fair.

This is the stance that Google is taking as well, but considering 66,000 requests revolving around 220,000 or so links have been asked to be forgotten by the French people – the largest amount in Europe – it’s no surprise they want it to go further. The EU are clearly not a friend of Google’s, having faced serious opposition of Google News in Germany and Spain, and a deeper Antitrust investigation by the central EU government. This latest probe leaves Google with the choice of either complying with the French authorities or pay fines that could reach up to $340,000.