Google must remove search results from its entire global database under the European Right to be Forgotten ruling, French data protection authorities have ruled.
The decision means that, for example, a request filed in Spain to have a certain search reference removed from Google’s index in Spain, must also apply to all other countries, including the US.
The ruling gives yet more power to EU citizens over how their data is indexed by search engines that operate within the EU, such as Google and Microsoft's Bing service.
Google said it "respectfully disagrees" with the decision.
The ruling is the latest development in the case that first began in November 2014 when the European Article 29 Working party said the Right to be Forgotten ruling should be applied to all Google domains, even its .com domain.
Google refused to comply with that order, though, and so in May this year the French data protection body CNIL issued Google with a 15-day deadline to begin implementing the ruling.
However, Google said it would refuse to do so, with Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer arguing it would create a dangerous precedent that would curtail the freedom of the web.
“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 said.
However, CNIL has stuck to its original decision and said that Google must comply with the ruling, arguing that the different domains Google has for its search site are only "pathways" to the same information stored in its systems.
“Once delisting is accepted by the search engine, it must be implemented on all extensions, in accordance with the judgment of the ECJ,” it said.
CNIL also said that given how easy it would be for someone to find information via the other domains for Google's search service, it was undermining the purpose of the original law.
"This would equate to stripping away the efficiency of this right, and applying variable rights to individuals depending on the internet user who queries the search engine and not on the data subject."
CNIL also noted that delisting a search term does not remove information from the web, it merely stops that specific search term from returning a certain web page or pages, and that the information still remains online.
Secondly, Google retains the right to challenge certain requests if the information is held to be in the public interest,CNIL noted.
CNIL also published a Q&A on its decision and how it affects both users and the wider web.
Google said it would continue to respect the ruling but that it still had concerns about the situation that had been created.
“As a matter of principle, we respectfully disagree with the idea that a single national Data Protection Authority should determine which webpages people in other countries can access via search engines," a spokesperson said.
The clash between Google and the French data watchdog is the latest clash between tech giants and governments, as Microsoft battles the US government over whether it should be forced to turn over data on EU citizens from its overseas servers.
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