Google case set to ex­am­ine if EU data rules ex­tend glob­ally

Ripon Bulletin - - Dollars & Sense -

LON­DON (AP) — Google is go­ing to Europe’s top court in its le­gal fight against an or­der re­quir­ing it to ex­tend “right to be for­got­ten” rules to its search en­gines glob­ally.

The technology giant is set for a show­down at the Euro­pean Union Court of Jus­tice in Lux­em­bourg on Tues­day with France’s data pri­vacy reg­u­la­tor over an or­der to re­move search re­sults world­wide upon re­quest.

The dis­pute pits data pri­vacy con­cerns against the pub­lic’s right to know, while also rais­ing thorny ques­tions about how to en­force dif­fer­ing le­gal ju­ris­dic­tions when it comes to the bor­der­less in­ter­net.

The two sides will be seek­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion on a 2015 de­ci­sion by the French reg­u­la­tor re­quir­ing Google to re­move re­sults for all its search en­gines on re­quest, and not just on Euro­pean coun­try sites like

Google de­clined to com­ment ahead of the hear­ing. Its gen­eral coun­sel, Kent Walker, said in a blog post in Novem­ber that com­ply­ing with the or­der “would en­cour­age other coun­tries, in­clud­ing less demo­cratic regimes, to try to im­pose their val­ues on cit­i­zens in the rest of the world.”

“These cases rep­re­sent a se­ri­ous as­sault on the pub­lic’s right to ac­cess law­ful in­for­ma­tion,” he added.

In an un­usual move, the court has al­lowed a col­lec­tion of press free­dom, free speech and civil rights groups to sub­mit their opin­ions on the case. These groups agree with Google that forc­ing in­ter­net com­pa­nies to re­move web­site links threat­ens ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and could pave the way for cen­sor­ship by more au­thor­i­tar­ian regimes such as China, Rus­sia and Saudi Ara­bia.

The court’s ruling is ex­pected within months. It will be pre­ceded by an opin­ion from the court’s ad­vo­cate gen­eral.

The case stems from a land­mark 2014 Court of Jus­tice ruling that peo­ple have the right to con­trol what ap­pears when their name is searched on­line. That de­ci­sion forced Google to delete links to out­dated or em­bar­rass­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion that popped up in searches of their names.

Au­thor­i­ties are now start­ing to worry about the risk that in­ter­net users can eas­ily turn to proxy servers and vir­tual pri­vate net­works to spoof their lo­ca­tion, al­low­ing them to dig up the blocked search re­sults.

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