France indicts Google over “right to be forgotten," fines company $112k
Mar 25, 2016 05:22 AM EDT
The French data protection authority claimed that it has charged Alphabet Inc.'s Google €100,000 euros or $112,000. Google allegedly did not scrub web search results widely enough in response to a European privacy ruling.
According to PHYS.ORG, the European Court of Justice has recognized the "right to be forgotten" since 2014. This has allowed individuals, under specific conditions, to have references to have them removed from the Internet.
Google has contracted the right for its European extensions, including google.fr and google.de. However, google.com has not been included.
France's National Commission on Informatics and Liberty said the delisting should apply to all extensions, without considering where the search is being performed. "Contrary to what Google says, delisting on all extensions does not impinge on freedom of expression in that it does not involve any removal of Internet content," the CNIL stated on Thursday.
The only way for Google to sustain the European's right to privacy is by delisting inaccurate results showing up under the name searches across all of its websites.
Reuters reported that the European Court of Justice decided in May 2014 that people could seek search engines like Google and Microsoft's Bing to get rid of inadequate or irrelevant information from web results appearing under searches for people names over the "right to be forgotten". In fact, the U.S. Internet giant has been challenged by the European Union data protection authorities over the territorial scope of the decision.
Google already complied with the Court of Justice, but it only slashed off results across its European websites. This would allegedly, if not, make a chilling effect on the free flow of information.
On the other hand, France's CNIL fined the company €100,000 or $112,000. And as part of its ruling, the regulator rejected the compromise offered by Google, in which it would apply the rule to all of its sites when they were accessed from a European Union country where a removal-request started off.
A company spokesperson also claimed that the company would appeal the ruling, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. The spokesman added, "We disagree with the CNIL's assertion that it has the authority to control the content that people can access outside France."
Meanwhile, the spokesman for Google, which is now a unit of holding company Alphabet Inc., noted that the company had worked hard to apply the "right to be forgotten ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe." However, the regulatory board still rejected the approach implemented by Google.