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CNIL Order Google to Remove Global Search Results

Laura Martin
Reading Time:
2 minutes

Google have been accused by the French regulator, CNIL, of not doing enough to honour Right to be Forgotten requests. Currently Google only remove search results from searches made on their EU-based sites, however the affected search results can easily be found on Google's counterparts based outside of the EU.

CNIL Demand Stricter Implementation of Right to be Forgotten Requests

The EU introduced the new Right to be Forgotten scheme last year following years of intense discussion. Individuals can submit a Right to be Forgotten request if they wish to have inaccurate or undesired URLs delisted from search results within the EU. The new measure has sparked widespread debate about online censorship and how this can be abused to hide negative press about an individual.

In a statement, CNIL announced that they have provided Google a 15 day notice to remove all delisted URLs from search results on all iterations of their search engine. CNIL argue that in order for the Right to be Forgotten measure to be effective, search results should be censored on a global scale. The reasoning behind this is that location targeting can easily be circumvented by users making use of a VPN or proxy connection.

The Right to be Forgotten measure is not the only online privacy legislation that has come under scrutiny. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is designed to make it easier to have infringing content delisted from search results. However, in recent times there has been an increase in the amount of automated DMCA notices sent to webmasters, particularly journalists covering negative stories. In some instances DMCA notices have been acted upon, where the webmaster has allegedly removed any potentially infringing materials.

Google released the following statement in response to CNIL's demands:

"We’ve been working hard to strike the right balance in implementing the European Court’s ruling, co-operating closely with data protection authorities. The ruling focused on services directed to European users, and that’s the approach we are taking in complying with it."

This latest development is yet another incident where EU regulators have butted heads with US-based technology corporations and raises questions about the efficiency of online privacy laws when these are region-based.

Laura Martin
Laura Martin is Event Manager at Dock9, having previously worked in the financial sector for 15 years including at the Bank of England, Northern Trust and BNP Paribas