July 31, 2015 Last Updated 9:43 am

Google rejects French regulator’s request for global link delistings

Google Europe Blog author labels the French request ‘a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web’

In response to a formal notice ordering Google to remove links from France’s data protection regulator, Google said that there is no global right to be forgotten, fearing that such a request would stifle free speech.

“This is a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web,” Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel wrote on the Google Europe Blog.

“While the right to be forgotten may now be the law in Europe, it is not the law globally. Moreover, there are innumerable examples around the world where content that is declared illegal under the laws of one country, would be deemed legal in others: Thailand criminalizes some speech that is critical of its King, Turkey criminalizes some speech that is critical of Ataturk, and Russia outlaws some speech that is deemed to be gay propaganda.”

Google has been fighting efforts by European regulators in this issue, and appears to be drawing a line at individual country search engines. Google says it has dealt with “a quarter of a million requests to delist links to more than one million individual web pages.

“As a matter of principle, therefore, we respectfully disagree with the CNIL’s assertion of global authority on this issue and we have asked the CNIL to withdraw its Formal Notice.”

“We are going to look at the arguments and we will respond to this submission within two months,” a CNIL representative told Agency France-Presse.

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