Several years ago, the European Union passed a “right to be forgotten” law that instructs tech companies like Google to delist certain content when requested by an individual. Search abides by this, but Google only removes information on a regional, not global, basis.
France’s data protection agency CNIL fined the company on this distinction, with Google appealing last year. Given the significant impact of such a ruling, the appeals court today decided to refer this case to the top European court.
At the heart of this issue is whether local laws should apply around the world. Google strongly argues against this interpretation and instead calls for a “balance.” The company believes “that each country should be able to balance freedom of expression and privacy in the way that it chooses, not in the way that another country chooses. “
Meanwhile, France argues for global delistings as Google’s current approach of regional removals can be easily circumvented by going to any international site.
Last year, Google filed an appeal which resulted in today’s decision to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union. It could take up to a year for a decision to be made on the case.