The agency that regulates data privacy issues in France has rejected Google's informal appeal of its right-to-be-forgotten delisting order. That order, handed down in June, requires Google to delist Internet results in right-to-be-forgotten cases not just for European extensions -- such as google.fr in France -- but across all extensions globally for the search engine.
The decision stems from a 2014 European Court of Justice ruling that finds EU citizens can ask search engines to remove links to personal information about them that is "inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive." Google has agreed to remove links in 41.3 percent of the requests that Europeans have since submitted, according to its latest transparency report.
Peter Fleischer, Google's Global Privacy Counsel, has argued that the June order from France's Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) "risks serious chilling effects on the Web." In a July 30 post on Google's Europe Blog, Fleischer noted, "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."
Stripping Right's Efficiency
In an opinion released today, CNIL President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin rejected Google's request, saying that delisting on just some extensions would weaken the right to be forgotten to the point it would be all but meaningless.
"If this right was limited to some extensions, it could be easily circumvented: in order to find the delisted result, it would be sufficient to search on another extension (e.g., searching in France using google.com), namely to use another form of access to the processing," CNIL noted in a statement. "This would equate stripping away the efficiency of this right, and applying variable rights to individuals depending on the Internet user who queries the search engine and not on the data subject."
The agency added that its order "does not show any willingness on the part of the CNIL to apply French law extraterritorially. It simply requests full observance of European legislation by non-European players offering their services in Europe."
Google's Position Unchanged
A spokesperson for the CNIL told us via e-mail that Google was notified of its decision on Friday. The agency has not yet received a response from Google, she added.
The CNIL's decision means that Google "must now comply with the formal notice," the spokesperson noted. If Google does not do so, Falque-Pierrotin can designate a rapporteur to work with the agency's sanctions committee, which has the authority to impose fines upon the search provider.
That process would take at least two months, due to the formal steps -- analysis, notification, etc. -- that must be followed, the spokesperson said.
We contacted Google for its response. A spokesperson told us that "our position has not changed on this issue." The company's stance remains the one described by Fleischer in his July blog post, the spokesperson said.
Posted: 2015-09-21 @ 1:40pm PT
Thank you, France, for championing consumers. American tax money going to the FCC should be rather sent to France's CNIL.