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Links to Web Form to File Right to Be Forgotten Request with Google, Bing, Yahoo!

France rejects Google's tech solution and fines it 100,000 Euros for not applying right to be forgotten globally

Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL), France's data protection authority, imposed a fine of 100,000 Euros on Google for not removing links to articles across all Google websites for successful right to be forgotten requests.  As a compromise position, Google said it would apply removals to all Google sites if the user of Google was located in an EU country.  CNIL, however, rejected Google's approach on the ground that a person's right to privacy cannot depend on the "geographic origin of those viewing the search results.  Only delisting on all of the search engine's extensions, regardless of the extension used or the geographic origin of the person performing the search, can effectively uphold this right."

Google disagreed with CNIL's decision and plans on appealing it to French courts.  Al Verney, Google's spokesman, said, "As a matter of principle, we disagree with the CNIL’s assertion that it has the authority to control the content that people can access outside France, and we plan to appeal their ruling."

Google Concedes to French Authorities--Will Apply RTBF Removals to Google.com in EU

Reuters is reporting that Google is apparently acquiescing to the demands of the French data protection authorities for Google to remove links on meritiorious right to be forgotten requests on all of Google's sites, including Google.com if accessed by a person in the EU.  Reuters says: "To address the concerns of European authorities, the Internet giant will soon start polishing search results across all its websites when someone conducts a search from the country where the removal request originated, a person close to the company said." 

If this report is accurate, it marks a dramatic change in position by Google that is more protective of the right to be forgotten.   It is not clear if Google will also be foregoing an appeal of the French authorities' decision.  

Google Seeks Return to China as China Increases Its Censorship

Google is reportedly in negotiation with the Chinese authorities to re-enter the Chinese market after Google's withdrawal 5 years ago due to China's censorship of content, including Google search results. Google hopes to launch an app store for Android-based smartphones and tablets. The news comes as China's government continues to crackdown on the use of VPN services, which enable people in China to attempt to evade the Great Firewall of China, which blocks people's access to censored sites. VPN services were disabled or experience outages in China at the end of August.  

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.

Google wins first appeal of right to be forgotten rejection in Finland

After Google decides whether to accept or reject a right to be forgotten removal request from a person in the European Union, the claimant can appeal any adverse decision to the national data protection authority.  Finland just reported its first appeal.  Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman Reijo Aarnio agreed with Google's decision to reject a businessman's attempt to remove links to articles about his past business mistakes.

How Google Processes Right to Be Forgotten Requests

China blocks Gmail

Reports out of China indicate that Gmail service is being blocked since last Friday, the day after Christmas.  Google's own Transparency Report shows a steep decline--a virtual flatline--to Google Gmail service out of China as depicted in Figure 1 below.

Thus far, China's government denies blocking the Gmail service.  Users of Gmail in China may have to use a virtual private network (VPN) to get access to their emails in China. Google services have reportedly experienced major disruptions in China since the summer. 

 

Google tells EU regulators of problems in implementing "right to be forgotten" requests

After losing a landmark decision before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in May 2014 (Google Spain v. Costeja, C-131/12), Google has begun enforcing the controversial EU right to be forgotten.  Under the right that is recognized in EU countries, people in the EU may request search engines such as Google to remove links to web pages describing them (presumably in an unflattering way) after a certain period of time.  For example, imagine that a Google search for your name resulted in the first entry being an old article about your arrest for drunk driving as a teenager.  Since the decision, Google has received over 90,000 requests from Europeans to remove links from search terms involving people's names.

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