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Google at Loggerheads With French Watchdog CNIL Over ‘Right To Be Forgotten” online

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In fresh row over Google ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ service, the web giant has refused to capitulate under directions from the French privacy watchdog, CNIL to censor search results worldwide when users invoke their “right to be forgotten” online.

The CNIL directives came after a decision by the European Court of Justice last May, according to which European residents can ask search engines to remove themselves from from all websites, including search results from Google or Bing paving the way for removal of individual names from searches that are out of date, defamatory or irrelevant.

It was based on the decision that, the French data protection authority CNIL ordered Google to remove search results that appear under a person’s name, when requested.

However, where as the order by CNIL included all Google websites — including — Google has chosen to interpret it to include only regional websites, such as in Germany or in France and has already removed 41 percent of more than a quarter million removal requests it received from local engines.

However, it’s still steadfastly refusing to include under this decision. A blog post by the company on the topic, said

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.

as per Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel.

The company is taking the stand that no country can have jurisdiction over what someone in another country can or can not access, further adding that the CNIL should be content with the ruling applying over considering that over 95 percent of searches in Europe are made from local engines.

While many agree with Google’s stand — including a group of experts appointed by the company to study the topic — others think that it would make the CNIL decision virtually useless since a person could have unrestricted access by simply switching to the global version.

Well, unless Google agrees to uphold the ruling, it may just end up paying fines levied by CNIL. However, its a price Google may just be willing to pay to preserve what it calls as the freedom of the internet and to prevent a situation where “the Internet would only be as free as the world’s least free place.”


A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

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