Google Panel Supports an EU Limit to “Right to be Forgotten”

A panel of experts appointed by Google to advise the company on how to implement the EU “right to be forgotten” supports that the links only be removed from websites within the EU.


eraserLast year the EU’s data protection regulators said that Google should remove links worldwide. However, the panel’s report supported Google in stating that it is only necessary for the search engine to remove links to personal information which is deemed irrelevant or inadequate from European websites and local domains such as for the UK and for Germany. Although controversial, the report has no legal support and is not binding on Google or any other party.


The Council consists of an eight-member panel which was selected last year. The members of the advisory panel published the report on Friday the 6th of February on how to implement the ruling from the European Court of Justice in May of last year. The panel includes Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia founder and a former German justice minister). One member of the panel, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, also a former German justice minister, disagreed with the rest of the panel and insisted that the removal of search results should be worldwide. “Since EU residents are able to research globally the EU is authorized to decide that the search engine has to delete all links globally,” she wrote.

Gwendal Le Grand, the technology and innovation director at CNIL (a French privacy regulator) said: “It’s not in the interest of Google not to comply…because at the end of the day they have to comply with the law.” CNIL continues to request that the delisting of search results be effective globally. Currently, people who are denied the right to have links removed by Google can turn to their national data protection authority (DPA) to dispute the decision on their behalf.


Another issue arising from the “right to be forgotten” ruling is that it has not yet been decided whether the original publishers of content linked to search results which are to be removed under the regulation should also be informed of the decision. Recent events prove that many uncertainties still plague the ruling as Google continues to dispute its applicability.


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