Google won its fight against tougher “right to be forgotten” rules after Europe’s top court said on Tuesday it does not have to remove links to sensitive personal data worldwide, rejecting a French demand.
The case is seen as a test of whether Europe can extend its laws beyond its borders and whether individuals can demand the removal of personal data from internet search results without stifling free speech and legitimate public interest.
'Right to be forgotten' on Google only applies in EU, court rules
The “right to be forgotten” online does not extend beyond the borders of the European Union, the bloc’s highest court has ruled in a major victory for Google.
The right, enshrined in a 2014 legal ruling, required search engines to delete embarrassing or out-of-date information, when requested by the individuals concerned but in a landmark ruling on Tuesday, the European court of justice said search engine operators faced no obligation to remove information outside the 28-country zone.
It however said search engines must “seriously discourage” internet users from going onto non-EU versions of their pages to find that information.
Right to Be Forgotten’ Privacy Rule Is Limited by Europe’s Top Court
Europe’s highest court limited the reach of the landmark online privacy law known as “right to be forgotten” on Tuesday, restricting people’s ability to control what information is available about them on the internet.
In a decision with broad implications for the regulation of the internet, the European Court of Justice ruled that the privacy rule cannot be applied outside the European Union. In another ruling, the court said the right to free expression and information must be weighed carefully before deleting links related to certain categories of personal data.
Google scores major victory in E.U. ‘right to be forgotten’ case
The European Union’s top court ruled Tuesday that Google does not have to extend the E.U.’s “right to be forgotten” rules to search results worldwide, handing the U.S. tech giant a major win as it comes under increasing scrutiny from European regulators.
In 2014, the European Court of Justice gave E.U. residents more control over what pops up when their names are searched online. The ruling required search engines to delete links to sensitive, embarrassing or out-of-date information upon request. But a French privacy watchdog wanted Google to honor those requests globally — not just within the bloc or a country, such as on France-specific Google.fr, for example.