Google Wins Case Over Reach Of EU ‘Right To Be Forgotten’

BRUSSELS (AP) -
A photo of the Google logo at their offices in Granary Square, London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Google won a major case in the European Union on Tuesday, when the bloc’s top court ruled that the U.S. internet giant doesn’t have to extend the EU’s “right to be forgotten” rules to its search engines outside the region.

The case stems from a 2014 ruling that said people have the right to control what appears when their name is searched online. They can ask Google, for example, to remove a link. The French privacy regulator then wanted that rule applied to all of Google’s domains, even outside the EU, and asked the EU’s top court for advice.

The European Court of Justice said Tuesday that there “is no obligation under EU law for a search engine operator” to extend the rule beyond the EU states.

It said, however, that a search engine operator must put measures in place to discourage internet users from going outside the EU to find that information.

The decision, which matches a preliminary opinion in January from the court’s adviser, highlights the need to balance data privacy and protection concerns against the public’s right to information. It also raises questions about how to enforce differing jurisdictions when it comes to the borderless internet.

In a reaction to the ruling, Google’s Senior Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer said, “It’s good to see that the Court agreed with our arguments.” He added that Google had worked hard “to strike a sensible balance between people’s rights of access to information and privacy.”