Google refuses to apply 'right to be forgotten' worldwide

Google has locked horns with French regulators over theright to be forgotten, refusing a direct order to apply the European ruling worldwide.

The ruling, passed in May last year, allowed European citizens to petition Google for the removal of links that are "inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant".

Now France's data protection body, CNIL, has ordered the search engine to increase the scope of its delisting links from its search results to outside its EU sites, but Google will not comply.

The data watchdog said in a statement: "In accordance with the EU Court of JusticeJ judgement, the CNIL considers that in order to be effective, delisting must be carried out on all extensions of the search engine and that the service provided by Google search constitutes a single processing."

But in a post on the tech giant's European policy blog, Google called it "a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web".

The search engine pointed out that EU law is not globally applicable, and warned that applying the right to be forgotten ruling globally could raise issues of enforced censorship and could curb free speech.

It also revealed that roughly 97 per cent of French Google users access the service via a European extension, like

"As a matter of principle, therefore, we respectfully disagree with the CNIL's assertion of global authority on this issue", the company said. "We have asked the CNIL to withdraw its Formal Notice."

So far Google has examined 250,000 link removal requests, it has claimed, saying 95 per cent come from everyday citizens.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.