French Privacy Watchdog Rejects Google Delisting-Order Challenge

  • Google may face sanctions from France if it doesn't comply
  • EU top court last year created a right to be forgotten

Google Inc.’s informal appeal of a French data-protection watchdog’s call to extend the so-called right to be forgotten to all its websites was rejected by the regulator, opening up the Internet search provider to possible fines.

Google must delist requested links across its network, France’s data protection commissioner said as it rejected the Mountain View, California-based tech giant’s objections. It dismissed arguments by Google that with the order the regulator went beyond its capacities under French law.

“It simply requests full observance of European legislation by non-European players offering their services in Europe,” Paris-based CNIL said in a statement on Monday. “If this right was limited to some extensions, it could be easily circumvented.”

The order comes after a judgment by the EU’s highest court in May 2014 created a right to be forgotten -- allowing people to seek the deletion of links on search engines if the information was outdated or irrelevant. The ruling provoked a furor, with Google creating a special panel to advise it on implementing the law. The panel opposed applying the ruling beyond EU domains.

“We’ve worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe, and we’ll continue to do so,” Google said in an e-mailed statement. “But as a matter of principle, we respectfully disagree with the idea that one national data protection authority can assert global authority to control the content that people can access around the world.”