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Landmark victory for Google over ‘right to be forgotten’
Pic: Shutterstock

24 Sep 2019 / data law Print

Victory for Google over ‘right to be forgotten’

Google does not have to apply the right to be forgotten globally but only for search results in Europe, according to a ruling by the European Court of Justice (CJEU).

The ruling  says that the search engine is not required to “carry out a de-referencing on all versions of its search engine.”


The ruling, issued this morning, arises after a dispute between Google and a French privacy regulator.

Google was ordered to remove search results listings linking to pages containing false or damaging information about a person in 2015. The privacy regulator CNIL made the order and in 2016, Google introduced a geoblocking to prevent European users from being able to see delisted links.

It didn’t geoblock search results for browsers in other parts of the world and went on to challenge a €100,000 fine imposed by CNIL.

Google argued in court that the obligation could be used to cover up human rights abuses outside of Europe.

'Sensible balance'

"Since 2014, we've worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people's rights of access to information and privacy," Google said this morning.

"It's good to see that the court agreed with our arguments."

The tech firm was backed by Microsoft, Wikipedia's owner the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the UK freedom of expression campaign group Article 19.


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