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Google: Right to be Forgotten? We’re Not Complying

Google has, after some consideration, come to its own terms with the European court-ordered Right to be Forgotten, and decided, after a year-long period of thinking, feedback and interaction with local data privacy outfits, to limit the forget-me-now service to the European and not global market.

The decision comes after a number of parties, including French data watchdog CNIL, took the Right to be Forgotten between their teeth and started chewing on it.

Much of the chewing and the tasting has been on the question of how efficient and satisfying an information link removal service can be when it applies only to one continent.

The web firm said that its evaluation included the opportunity to study 250,000 requests aimed at the removal of links to over one million web pages, and the criteria that it uses in delisting decisions.

Google added that suggestions that the system be widened, as demanded by CNIL, is bad news for the internet, and unlikely to win its support.

“This is a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web,” said Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, who suggested that this should remain a local rule that deals with local sensibilities and themes.

Fleischer explained that what is acceptable in one country is not always acceptable in another, and that nation states could turn the service into a political and divisive censorship tool.

While the Right to be Forgotten may now be the law in Europe, it is not the law globally. We believe that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access,” he said in a blog post.

“As a matter of principle, therefore, 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.

“We have worked hard to strike the right balance in our implementation of the European Court’s ruling. We are committed to continuing to work with regulators in this open and transparent way.” 

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