France says Google must remember to forget

google-logo-art-image-hdThe French government has rejected Google’s request that it surrender and forget about a ruling extending the “right to be forgotten” to all Google’s websites.

The French has demanded that Google  close a loophole that let searchers  defeat a judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) last year.

CJEU has recognised the right to be forgotten in May 2014, allowing people to ask search engines to not display certain links resulting from a search on their name.

The CJEU case was triggered by a Spanish lawyer asking that Google no longer respond to a search on his name with links to a years old administrative announcement in a local newspaper concerning the court-ordered auction of his property to pay debts.

The right to be forgotten isn’t about erasing such traces just making them harder to find.

There’s also a public interest exception so newspaper reporters, and ordinary citizens for that matter, won’t have to spend weeks combing paper archives for evidence of politicians’ past misdeeds.

Google removed certain results on request from searches performed on google.fr, google.co.uk and its other European sites, and even providing an online tool to make it easier for people to request removal of links to information about them.

But the disputed links continues to be displayed on google.com, giving anyone who wanted uncensored search results an easy way around the court ruling.

That annoyed the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL), the country’s privacy watchdog, which in May this year ordered Google to conceal disputed search results across all its sites.

Google filed an informal appeal against that order in July, arguing that the order amounted to censorship, would restrict the public’s right to information, and sought to extend French law outside French borders.

However now CNIL turned down Google’s request, saying it considered Google’s various domain names merely as different paths to the same processing operation; limiting the right to be forgotten only to some domains would make it easy to circumvent.

CNIL also rejected Google’s accusation that it was going beyond its jurisdiction, saying that it just wants non-European companies to respect European laws when offering their services in Europe.