RegSol Blog


Google France and the Right to be Forgotten

October 2019

The Right to be Forgotten, a privacy right enshrined in the GDPR regulations which came into force in May last year has been tested in the European Courts. Arising from the French Data Protection Commissioner’s (CNIL) ruling that required Google to apply the right to be forgotten to all searches in all Google domains. CNIL ruled that in order to be effective, delisting was to be carried out on a global scale in a single processing. So, if Google detected a user in Ireland, they wouldn’t be able to see removed results, even if they clicked onto Google.com. 

Google appealed the ruling sparking a long drawn out battle with Google’s counsel arguing that if French law applied globally, how long would it be until other countries started demanding their laws likewise have global reach….

Last week Tuesday saw the European Court of Justice (ECJ) limiting the provisions of EU law and therefore reducing delisting to search engine operators in the EU which means the right to be forgotten will be seen only on European versions of Google search pages- google.fr or google.de, but not on google.com. 

The ECJ does require Google to put in measures to discourage EU internet users from finding that information but in practical terms, it seems unrealistic to achieve this. Performing the role of a “sub regulator”, one could argue, Google has had to in the past determine on 850,000 separate requests to remove links to about 3.3 million websites. Now they’ll have arguably greater and almost supervisory-like powers in deciding what personal data is kept in the public domain. 

If you’d like assistance with GDPR Compliance, please contact your RegSol Consultant for assistance.

By Judy de Castro - Regulatory Consultant