LONDON, UK: The European Court of Justice has ruled on Tuesday that Google does not have to apply the right to be forgotten globally.
“Currently, there is no obligation under EU law, for a search engine operator who grants a request for de-referencing made by a data subject… to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine,” the ruling said.
“It will be for the national court to ascertain whether the measures put in place by Google Inc meet those requirements,” the Court of Justice added.
The judgment stems from a dispute between Google and a French privacy regulator.
In 2015, The Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) had ordered the digital company to globally remove search result listings containing damaging or false information about a person upon their request.
Following the regulator’s demand, Google had introduced a geoblocking feature in May 2014, which would prevent European users from accessing delisted links.
However, the firm resisted censoring search results for people of other countries resulting in a fine of €100,000 by CNIL which the company contested in EU’s top court.
“The obligation could be abused by authoritarian governments trying to cover up human rights abuses were it to be applied outside of Europe,” the firm had contested in court.
“It’s good to see that the court agreed with our arguments,” the company said in a statement following the ECJ ruling.
“Since 2014, we’ve worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people’s rights of access to information and privacy.”
Google revealed that it received over 845,000 requests to remove around 3.3 million web addresses, out of which 45% of the links got delisted.
The EU ruling means that now the company only needs to remove links from its search results in Europe and not elsewhere, after receiving an appropriate request.