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Google Is Fighting France’s ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Demands

The tech company is refusing to delist search results across borders.

by Kari Paul
Jul 31 2015, 10:32pm

Photo: Kristina Alexanderson/Flickr

Google is refusing an order from French authorities to eliminate user information under the controversial "right to be forgotten" law passed by the EU last year.

The European Court of Justice previously ruled that Google must remove results from online searches by user request. Since then, the company has received more than a quarter of a million requests, complying with those that reach the criteria for removal, including being deemed "inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant or excessive, and not in the public interest."

According to Google, it has removed 40 percent of the requests under these standards, but only from EU-related domains like Google.fr. In May, France's Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés, or CNIL said the law should apply to global searches, and Google should delist information across borders.

Google is now apparently refusing the order, saying the development "risks serious chilling effects on the web."

"We also believe this order is disproportionate and unnecessary, given that the overwhelming majority of French internet users—currently around 97%—access a European version of Google's search engine like google.fr, rather than Google.com or any other version of Google," Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel wrote.

Google may soon be required to pay fines for not complying. In the mean time, it has asked the CNIL to withdraw its Formal Notice.