Google appeals to France’s highest court over “right to be forgotten” ruling

Google is appealing to France’s highest court over a ruling that could require it to remove particular links, potentially affecting the accuracy of its search results.

Google appeals to France’s highest court over “right to be forgotten” ruling

The US company has filed an appeal with France’s Conseil D’État over a 2015 ruling from France’s data protection regulator – the Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL).

That ruling would extend the scope of the so-called “right to be forgotten”, which was brought into law by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2014 and requires Google to remove links to pages that “appear to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive.”

In March 2016 Google made moves to restrict access to delisted URLs across European countries, but the CNIL doesn’t think this goes far enough. In July 2015 the French regulator demanded that the company remove links across all Google domains – including those outside of Europe. Google rejected that ruling, and the proceeding battle this week culminated in the company’s appeal to the Conseil d’État.


Google’s global general counsel Kent Walker, in an open letter published online in

Le Monde, explained the company’s reasons behind fighting the ruling:

“As a matter of both law and principle, we disagree with this demand. We comply with the laws of the countries in which we operate. But if French law applies globally, how long will it be until other countries – perhaps less open and democratic – start demanding that their laws regulating information likewise have global reach?

“This order could lead to a global race to the bottom, harming access to information that is perfectly lawful to view in one’s own country. For example, this could prevent French citizens from seeing content that is perfectly legal in France. This is not just a hypothetical concern. We have received demands from governments to remove content globally on various grounds — and we have resisted, even if that has sometimes led to the blocking of our services.”

Walker said the company “look forward” to the French court’s review of the case.

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