France rejects Google’s appeal against “right to be forgotten”

22 Sep 2015


French officials have rejected Google's appeal against extension of "right to be forgotten" to all versions of its search engine, a demand that the search giant is not likely to acquiesce.

Rejecting Google's request in August to review its "right to be forgotten" order, France's Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL), had ordered the search giant to comply or face sanctions.

At issue was a May 2014 ruling from the EU High Court that said, if requested, Google would need to remove links to certain information in its search results, a demand that was slammed by the UK's government and House of Lords (See: UK Lords slam EU's right-to-be-forgotten ruling).

Yielding to the European demand, Google only stripped search results from European versions of its site, like and But Europeans could see the search results that were not censored on

That made the entire exercise pointless, CNIL said in June, when it forced Google to delist links on all sites - including CNIL president Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin granted 15 days to the tech titan to comply or face sanctions.

Late July saw Google file an appeal asking Falque-Pierrotin to withdraw CNIL's request for an expanded "right to be forgotten" program, saying that it would serve as a form of censorship(Google asks CNIL to review ''right to be forgotten order'').

That request was rejected by CNIL today.

"This strips away the effectiveness of this law, and varies the rights granted to persons according to the internet user who consults the search engine, rather than the person concerned," CNIL said.

In the event of Google's failure to comply with the law, it faced a fine of up to €150,000.

"Since the informal appeal has been rejected, the company must now comply with the formal notice," CNIL said. "Otherwise, the President of the CNIL may designate a Rapporteur who may refer to the CNIL's sanctions committee with a view of obtaining a ruling on this matter."

Google had earlier said it did not believe in CNIL's conviction that right to be forgotten requests needed to apply across the globe.

"We believe that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access. We also believe this order is disproportionate and unnecessary, given that the overwhelming majority of French internet users -- currently around 97 per cent -- access a European version of Google's search engine like, rather than or any other version of Google," Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, wrote on the company's European blog in August.

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