European privacy regulators continue to push for an extension of The Right to Be Forgotten (RTBF) to the entire Google index, globally. However Google for the time being has taken the position that it will not remove RTBF results from Google.com.
That was reiterated this week by David Drummond, the company’s Chief Legal Officer. He’s quoted by Reuters saying, “It’s our strong view that there needs to be some way of limiting the concept, because it is a European concept.”
Google is removing disputed links from the domestic versions of its search results in Europe. However many Europe privacy regulators have criticized this approach because Google’s “.com” results are immediately accessible to Europeans and thus appear to defeat the purpose of RTBF, which is to prevent disputed content from being discovered through search.
Since the European Court of Justice first pronounced the RTBF in May 2014, in Google Spain v AEPD and Mario Costeja González, Google has received more than 200,000 requests from individuals in EU member states. That has resulted in the removal of almost 740,000 URLs to date.
In December European regulators issued a detailed list of criteria to be used by search engines in evaluating RTBF requests:
To scrub the full Google index of RTBF removals would be to extend EU privacy rules to the entire globe. However the balance and legal standards governing privacy and speech is different around the globe.
This presents a difficult conflict of laws challenge that has always been present with the internet but is highlighted with this issue.
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