The French data protection and privacy watchdog has put Google on notice, demanding the search giant to expand the scrubbing of search results world-wide rather than just the European domains owned by Google. The clear state or scrubbing of search results happens when Google agrees to requests from users’ who want to implement their “right to be forgotten”, under European law. Currently, search results are eliminated only from the .fr (French) sub-domain, whereas the notice is to remove results from all domains, including google.com.
France’s Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, or the CNIL has ordered Google to remove links “on all extensions of the search engine and that the service provided by Google search constitutes a single processing.”
Google, for their part, maintain that they’ve been complying and doing precisely what’s being asked of the company, with a spokesperson saying: “We’ve been working hard to strike the right balance in implementing the European Court’s ruling, co-operating closely with data protection authorities. The ruling focused on services directed to European users, and that’s the approach we are taking in complying with it.”
The Right to be forgotten
The Right to be forgotten is a legal ruling that was established by the top European court last year in 2014. It mandated that search engines should process requests from individual users who seek their outdated, irrelevant and/or inaccurate information to be wiped clear or removed from search engine results as a consequence of searching for their name(s).
As Europe’s (and the world’s) dominant search engine, Google began processing these requests in the summer of 2014. However, the clear slate for search results only affected the European subdomains of Google, such as Google.fr in France and Google.de in Germany. The company maintains that the ruling should only apply to these sub-domains as well.
Google on notice
The CNIL, upon putting Google on notice to expand the delisting requests to include all domains, has given Google a fortnight to comply with the request. If Google doesn’t comply with the ruling and make the necessary changes within 15 days, sanctions can be initiated by the French Watchdog as per NYT (NewYork Times).
“If Google Inc. does not comply with the formal notice within the fifteen days the President will be in position to nominate a Rapporteur to draft a report recommending to the CNIL Select Committee (the Committee in charge of imposing sanctions in case of violation of the French data protection law) to impose a sanction to the company,” the CNIL said today.
In response, Google released a statement through a spokesperson saying: “We’ve been working hard to strike the right balance in implementing the European Court’s ruling, co-operating closely with data protection authorities. The ruling focused on services directed to European users, and that’s the approach we are taking in complying with it.“