France turns down Google's objection on the right to be forgotten

The French privacy regulator has rejected Google's appeal to a recent ruling regarding the right to be forgotten.

The right to be forgotten is a feature which allows people to request the search engine to conceal, from the search results, links to pages from a distant past, which might hurt their image, future employment possibilities, etc.

A judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) last year ordered the search engine to allow such feature to its European visitors but Google only concealed results from people visiting from specific countries.

So if a French person asked Google for the right to be forgotten, only search results from Google.fr would be affected. Searching the same thing on Google.com would still get the full results.

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 countered saying the order amounted to censorship, would restrict the public's right to information, and sought to extend French law outside French borders.

On Monday, 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, PC World writes in a report. CNIL also rejected Google's accusation that it was going beyond its jurisdiction.

Ever since the feature was implemented in 2014, Google has received tens of thousands of requests from French citizens asking it to be forgotten.