Links removed from Google’s European search engines may end up having to be removed from Google’s other search engines.
As you may know, Google has been removing links from its European search results because of what has come to be known as the “Right to Be Forgotten” law. The law enables people to request Google get rid of search results about them.
As expected, the whole thing has been a big mess. It’s about to get even messier, as a new court ruling indicates that search engines like Google will have to extend their hiding of search results on a global basis.
A French court ordered Google to pay fines of €1,000 unless links to a “defamatory” article are removed from its global network, The Guardian reports (via 9to5Google). The company, it says, is considering its options. The report shares this quote from a Google spokesperson:
This was initially a defamation case and it began before the CJEU ruling on the right to be forgotten. We are reviewing the ruling and considering our options. More broadly, the right to be forgotten raises some difficult issues and so we’re seeking advice – both from data protection authorities and via our Advisory Council – on the principles we should apply when making these difficult decisions.
Google has been engaging in something of a Right to be Forgotten tour, traveling around the world to talk with experts on how to proceed.
This ruling adds a new element to the whole thing, as Google could face more and more fines from others following similar legal paths.
The Guardian report has some additional context from a lawyer involved with the suit.
In October, Google provided an update on search result removal stats. It said it had evaluated 497,695 URLs for removal, and had received a total of 144,954 requests.
Image via Google