Google holds strong against EU pressure for worldwide 'right to be forgotten'

Google’s Advisory Council has urged the search engine firm to resist expanding the “right to be forgotten” ruling worldwide.

The regulation was enforced by the European Union back in May last year, and means that Google must remove requested search results if they are considered irrelevant or an infringement upon personal privacy.

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So far, the removal of links has been limited to Google’s European sites, meaning individuals based anywhere in the world can still access them via Google.com. However, a collective of some of the EU’s national privacy regulators called the Article 29 Working Party believes that the search engine should enforce the takedowns globally.

Last month, Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond supported his company’s decision to not extend the regulation.

"We've had a basic approach; we've followed it,” he told Reuters. “On this question we've made removals Europe-wide, but not beyond."

Now Mr Drummond’s stance has been echoed by the firm’s eight-person Advisory Council, which argued that extending the EU ruling would impinge upon user rights in other parts of the world.

The council agreed that while a global restriction would better protect user privacy, it would mean that a strictly European regulation was affecting the rights of non-EU citizens. Moreover, users situated within Europe may need to access global versions of Google’s search engine, so a European block of Google.com would not be feasible.

Google also argued that given that more than 95 per cent of all queries originating in Europe are processed through local versions of the search engine, an extension of the delisting process is often unnecessary.

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"The Council supports effective measures to protect the rights of data subjects," explained the report. "Given concerns of proportionality and practical effectiveness, it concludes that removal from nationally directed versions of Google's search services within the EU is the appropriate means to implement the Ruling at this stage."