Google’s been in the news quite a bit recently over the “right to be forgotten” issues, in which individuals or groups of individuals are demanding Google do a clean scrub of any information pertaining to them in search results online. Should Google comply with anyone’s requests, this wouldn’t wipe all and any information off the internet about any involved parties, but it would remove those pockets of data from the Google Search results thus making the information much harder to find or to come by. Last month on June 12th, the French government passed a ruling urging Google to expand the “Right To Be Forgotten” on a global scale, and today Google is announcing their refusal to comply with this ruling.
While Google has thus far complied with about 41 percent of all removal requests for the right to be forgotten to date, they have strong reservations about complying with the CNIL’s request for a global expansion, mainly because Google believes it would instill many countries to invoke the right and would result in the internet being less free, or about “as free as the world’s least free people.” The CNIL has stated they’ve heard Google’s arguments and will come to a decision on whether or not they would accept Google’s appeal of the ruling. They also mentioned the decision process would take two months so no results on the matter will be immediate.
Google’s arguments are such that they have less control over what gets taken down in Europe due to the fact that a majority of the searches are made through local version of the search engine, it also believes though that control over the content and what countries can access it shouldn’t belong to any one country. Having said that, Google seems to be more than cooperative in making sure people’s right to be forgotten is being handled. Google’s Global Privacy Counsel rep Peter Fleischer states that “we’ve worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe, and we’ll continue to do so. But 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.” At this point in time it’s unknown how the ruling will end up, but Google isn’t taking this lightly.