The Free Internet Project

Google refuses to comply with France CNIL's order to extend removal for RTBF to all Google sites globally

Peter Fleischer, Google's Global Privacy Counselor, wrote on the Google Policy Blog its reason for refusing to comply with France's data protection authority's (CNIL order to extend the removal of links for successful right to be forgotten requests to all of Google, and not just the European sites.  Fleischer writes in a blog post titled "Implementing a European, not a global, right to be forgotten":

"However, earlier this summer, France’s data protection regulator, the CNIL, sent us a formal notice ordering us to delist links not just from all European versions of Search but also from all versions globally. That means a removal request by an individual in France, if approved, would not only be removed from google.fr and other European versions of Google Search, but from all versions of Google Search around the world.  This is a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web.

"While the right to be forgotten may now be the law in Europe, it is not the law globally. Moreover, there are innumerable examples around the world where content that is declared illegal under the laws of one country, would be deemed legal in others: Thailand criminalizes some speech that is critical of its King, Turkey criminalizes some speech that is critical of Ataturk, and Russia outlaws some speech that is deemed to be 'gay propaganda.' 

"If the CNIL’s proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for Internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world’s least free place. We believe that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access. 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. 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"