France Fines Google For Breaking Right To Be Forgotten

Google / Tech
Right to be forgotten

The controversial “Right To Be Forgotten” concept that was passed by the European Union is going to be put to the test as France’s data protection authority has slapped Google with a €100,000 ($111,662) fine for not removing links as thoroughly as they could have.

This fine highlights an important issue with the right to be forgotten debate – the Internet has no borders. The problem arose because Google, when requested to take down a listing, would only take down the listing for that particular country. For example, if a French man requested a listing be removed, this would only be removed from Google’s French top level domain. Regulatory authorities pointed out that this could be circumvented quite easily.

So, Google then started removing listings based on the origin of the search. If a French man chose to view the German version of Google, he wouldn’t be shown any listing that was requested to be removed from the French version of Google. CNIL, France’s authority on data privacy, however, was still not satisfied and decided to levy the fine on Google.

Google has a point. A search engine can’t claim to be unbiased if it also removed listings worldwide. While not removing certain listings can have a negative impact on some people as far as privacy goes, Internet search is also a very useful tool, which should not be tampered with. It should also be noted that the right to be forgotten concept isn’t applicable worldwide. Most of the world doesn’t have such a law, all the more reason for Google to not comply with the authorities requesting the company to remove listings from all the country specific sites Google operates. Google’s spokesperson confirmed that the company plans to appeal the fine levied on the company.

“But as a matter of principle, we disagree with the CNIL’s assertion that it has the authority to control the content that people can access outside France, and we plan to appeal their ruling.”

What do you think of this ruling and Google’s response? Let us know in the comments section or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

  Source: Reuters
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