Google has appealed to France’s highest court after the country’s internet censor ordered it to delete some of its search results globally.In 2015, the Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) said Google should respect French right to be forgotten rulings worldwide. Companies offering services to European citizens must comply with the ruling, even if their websites are not hosted in Europe.
But Google said the ruling could lead to abuse by less open and democratic countries. The company is now appealing against a 100,000-euro (£76,000) CNIL fine. Google says results can end up removed even when those links point to truthful and lawfully published information like newspaper articles or official government websites .
Google currently blocks all right to be forgotten content from all searches for users with a European IP address. Viewers from outside the EU and Europeans using non European proxies or VPNs can still access that links censored in Europe.
Google argues that a French authority such as the CNIL should not impose measures outside of the nation’s borders . Kent Walker, the company’s general counsel said:
For hundreds of years, it has been an accepted rule of law that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of other countries,
In an open letter published in French newspaper Le Monde, Google said it had already received requests from countries to block content worldwide that was illegal locally. The letter said:
If French law applies globally, how long will it be until other countries – perhaps less open and democratic – start demanding that their laws regulating information likewise have global reach?
This order could lead to a global race to the bottom, harming access to information that is perfectly lawful to view in one’s own country.
This is not just a hypothetical concern. We have received demands from governments to remove content globally on various grounds.
We have resisted, even if that has sometimes led to the blocking of our services.
According to AFP, Google expects the Council of State, France’s highest court, will take at least a year to review its appeal.