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Google appeals to France's high court over Right to be Forgotten ruling

Google has appealed to the highest court in France over a ruling by the country's Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) over the Right to be Forgotten, which could force it to globally censor its search results.

The CNIL's ruling would have the company apply Right to be Forgotten requests to its search results not just in Europe but worldwide. Google has responded by putting forth an appeal in which it argues that this could set a dangerous precedent with countries that block free access to information attempting to persuade it to remove search results as well.

The senior vice president and general counsel at the company, Kent Walker commented in regard to the appeal on Google's European policy blog: “As a matter of law and principle, we disagree with this demand. We comply with the laws of the countries in which we operate. But if French law applies globally, how long will it be until other countries – perhaps less open and democratic – start demanding that their laws regulating information likewise have global reach?

"This order could lead to a global race to the bottom, harming access to information that is perfectly lawful to view in one's own country. We look forward to the court's review of this case, which we hope will maintain the rights of citizens around the world to access legal information.”

Since the ruling came into effect in 2014, Google has already reviewed over 1.5 million web pages in Europe with 300,000 alone being from France. The Right to be Forgotten also led to a data leak which revealed that most of the requests put forth so far have come from ordinary citizens and not celebrities concerned with privacy.

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Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.