French Court Attempts to Fine Google in Relation to Right to be Forgotten Laws
November 14, 2014
Following recent revelations that Google is currently receiving daily fines in the region of 1,000 Euros from French courts in relation to the recent ‘Right to be Forgotten’ legislation, it turns out that the company is failing to remove results relating to French citizens from their global results.
In short, this means that if a French person has their ‘Right to be Forgotten’ request granted, Google is only removing the result from the google.fr variant of their search engine. This means that the result is still available on the google.com, thus making it accessible still on a global scale.
Several politicians with an interest in the case have already suggested that the removals should be reflected on a global scale, however these fines are the first actual attempt to force Google into doing so.
The fine was imposed following the removal of a defamatory story from their French search results. The company then refused to remove the result from international searches, resulting in the daily fine being imposed until they do.
However, the fine may actually be against the law, as the French authorities do not have the authority required to punish Google for displaying the result in international territories. As such, the EU-enforced law is not law in the United States or other areas of the world.
The argument comes in relation to whether or not google.com is considered the US version of the search engine. While the company claims that it is, many general users will use the google.com address when making searches regardless of where they come from, thus increasing the possibility that those in EU territories can view content that should have been removed under the new legislation.
Google has yet to comply with the fines and, in doing so, would likely set a dangerous precedent for future issues. As such, for now at least, the company is remaining steadfast in its refusal to pay and is waiting for further clarification in regards to the legislation.
As it stands, it currently appears as though the French courts are attempting to increase their jurisdiction beyond French and EU boundaries. The move actually has the potential to backfire on them, causing further issues with the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ legislation.
At the time of writing there has been no further movement from other international territories in regards to the legislation, or anything similar. As such, the EU is the only international body currently enforcing the laws, which means that they will need to be increasingly careful in ensuring that the laws are only enforced in areas where they actually have jurisdiction.