Google’s woes over the right to be forgotten rulings have just gotten even more complicated. The French data protection agency, Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL in short), stuck to its ruling from earlier this year, stating that the right to be forgotten must be applied across all Google websites and not merely Google.fr.
Google’s troubles started in 2014, when an European court decreed that individuals should be able to get results associated with their names removed from search engines, subject to certain criterions. Google complied and indeed, created a process which allows users to request the removal of their identities from Google searches.
However, Google decided that the ruling required it to remove the search results from only its engines associated with the country where the request actually originated from. Meaning that the unbridged results could still be viewed from other Google engines, such as Google.com.
CNIL disagreed with this turn of affairs and told Google as much, stating that that the right to be forgotten extended across all of its sites — including Google.com. Google appealed against the ruling and also started a public campaign, challenging that the law bodies of one region should not have sway over other areas, which is exactly what th CNIL ruling would have it accept.
Today, in a press release the CNIL denied Google’s appeal, basing its objections on the fact that even blocking a result on google.fr for example, would not exactly debar french users, who could still access it via google.com.
If this right was limited to some extensions, it could be easily circumvented: in order to find the delisted result, it would be sufficient to search on another extension (e.g. searching in France using google.com), namely to use another form of access to the processing,
the agency said.
This would equate stripping away the efficiency of this right, and applying variable rights to individuals depending on the internet user who queries the search engine and not on the data subject.
Google however, is still mulishly sticking to its previous viewpoint and a spokesperson told Reuters as much, stating that
As a matter of principle, we respectfully disagree with the idea that a single national Data Protection Authority should determine which webpages people in other countries can access via search engines.