Right to be forgotten

The European Court of Justice ruled that the E.U.’s “right to be forgotten” privacy law only applies within the borders of its member states.

“Currently, there is no obligation under E.U. law, for a search engine operator who grants a request for de-referencing made by a data subject… to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine,” stated the ruling.

The court’s decision stemmed from a legal battle between online search giant Google and French privacy regulator CNIL. CNIL had called for Google to remove any references containing potentially damaging or libelous information worldwide, and attempted to impose a €100,000 fine for non-compliance.

This is the first major court decision to challenge the “right to be forgotten” online since it became effective in 2014. The right, also called the “right to erasure” grants E.U. citizens the ability to have data collected about them to be deleted. Google reports that it has received over 840,000 such requests, and has removed 45% of the referenced links. 

“Courts or data regulators in the U.K., France or Germany should not be able to determine the search results that internet users in America, India or Argentina get to see,” said the executive director of privacy group Article 19 in a statement.