Google is refusing to comply with an order from CNIL, the French data protection watchdog, to apply the European Right to be Forgotten ruling to its entire global search database.
The Right to be Forgotten is currently being applied to all European versions of Google's search engine, but the Article 29 Working Party said in November last year that Google should apply the ruling internationally on all Google sites.
Google did not react to this, and CNIL issued Google with a 15-day 'Formal Notice' deadline in June to begin implementing the ruling.
However, Google has now publically refused to agree to this demand. Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, called it "a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web".
“While the Right to be Forgotten may now be the law in Europe, it is not the law globally,” he said, claiming that it would set a dangerous precedent that would force Google into censoring all types of content in more repressive regimes.
“If CNIL's proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the internet would only be as free as the world’s least free place,” he added.
Fleischer explained that Google sees the order as “disproportionate and unnecessary” as most European users, such as those in France, use a local version of Google and are covered by the Right to be Forgotten as the EU wishes.
These concerns mean that Google will not agree to the ruling, and wants CNIL to throw out the order.
“As a matter of principle, therefore, we respectfully disagree with CNIL’s assertion of global authority on this issue and we have asked CNIL to withdraw its Formal Notice,” said Fleischer.
In response, CNIL told Reuters that it will consider Google's statement and respond in due course.
"We have taken note of Google's arguments which are mostly of a political nature. CNIL, on the other hand, has relied on a strictly legal reasoning," the organisation said.
The standoff between Google and CNIL is not the first time the two organisations have clashed. CNIL fined Google €150,000 (£124,000) in January 2014 for failing to comply with the country's data protection laws.
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