Google has gone to France’s highest court in a bid to overturn a decision by the French Data Protection Authority over the ‘Right to be forgotten,’ to all of its domains.
Google has filed an appeal with France’s equivalent of the Supreme Court, the Conseil d’Etat, to reverse the ruling made earlier this year.
The earlier ruling would require Google to hide or remove links to search results that “appear to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive … in the light of the time that had elapsed.”
Google are fighting hard on this issue. Kent Walker, the firm’s major voice and general counsel on the case said:
“This order could lead to a global race to the bottom, harming access to information that is perfectly lawful to view in one’s own country. For example, this could prevent French citizens from seeing content that is perfectly legal in France. This is not just a hypothetical concern. We have received demands from governments to remove content globally on various grounds – and we have resisted, even if that has sometimes led to the blocking of our services.”
We comply with the laws of the countries in which we operate. But if French law applies globally, how long will it be until other countries – perhaps less open and democratic – start demanding that their laws regulating information likewise have global reach?”
The argument centres around the idea that filtering search results on a global level is the only way to realistically enforce the ‘Right to be forgotten.’
Since the original ruing in 2014, Google has removed 1.5 million links on foot of t 450,000 requests to be forgotten.
Only links pointing to original content are removed under the current ruling. The original content remains on the website.
Google also contends it sees itself as a facilitator on content rather than a provider, and as such, it is not the company’s responsibility to, in effect, police the World Wide Web. It also argues that if it has to continue to enforce the French ruling, it may also therefore be forced to enforce other such rulings from countries like Russia and China.