French Privacy Authority Orders Google to Delist RTBF Infringing Results Worldwide

A few days ago, the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNiL), the French data protection authority, ordered Google to apply the right to be forgotten (RTBF) on all domain names of Google's search engine, including the .com domain.

As many other national data protection authorities in Europe, the CNil supervises the application of the European Court of Justice (ECJ)'s judgment on the RTBF in case of refusal by the search engines to carry out the the requested delisting. In response to hundreds of individual complaints since the May 2014 decision by the ECJ, the CNil requested Google to delist search results in multiple occasions. In all those instances, the CNiL expressly requested that the delisting had to be effective across the whole search engine, regardless of the domain extension through which the users access the information.

However, so far, Google applied the delisting only to European extensions of its search engine. RTBF infringing search results still remained accessible in the French territory from google.com and other non-European extensions.  

With its latest decision, the CNiL puts now Google on formal public notice to delist search results from all the search engine's extensions, which are accessible from the French territory, within 15 days. If Google will not act promptly, the CNiL Select Committee will suggest a sanction to be imposed on the company.  

The CNiL's decision is in accordance with the Article 29 Working Party's Guidelines (Guidelines) on the implementation of the ECJ judgment on the RTBF. In its November 2014 Guidelines, the European data protection authority noted that limiting de-listing to EU domains cannot be considered a sufficient means to satisfactorily guarantee the rights of data subjects according to the ruling. In practice, the Guidelines stated, "this means that in any case de-listing should also be effective on all relevant .com domains." 

A press release in English commenting on the CNiL's decision is available here.

 

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