Right to be Forgotten in the EU

Judith Thompson  29-04-2019

A case between France’s National Commission for Information Technology and Civil Liberties (CNIL) and Google has determined that the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ should not apply outside of the European Union.

The Right to be Forgotten was established by the European Court of Justice in 2014 and requires search engines such as Google to remove links that appear when searching applicant’s name that are considered irrelevant, outdated or otherwise inappropriate.

CNIL fined Google for not removing links across its entire domain when searching for the applicant’s name, because Google had only removed search results from Google's various search engines within the EU member states.

Google stated that it did not have a duty to remove links on its search engine for non-EU members such as the USA or China. The advocate general, Maciej Szpunar, agreed with this and made the following statement: 

"The fundamental right to be forgotten must be balanced against other fundamental rights, such as the right to data protection and the right to privacy, as well as the legitimate public interest in accessing the information sought."

Although this is not binding on the European Court of Justice it will certainly influence their decision and may set a precedent as to whether the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ is enforceable outside of the EU.

Judith Thompson, partner with responsibility for reputation management issues at Samuels Solicitors, says: "applicants to Google for the right to be forgotten should assume that if their application is successful, the results will be removed within Europe only. Unless and until there is a similar case in another country such as the USA, looking at whether search results should be removed in certain circumstances, the right to be forgotten is unlikely to be extended." 

If you have unwanted results appearing in a search of your name, we can help you with an application for the right to be forgotten, for a low fixed fee. If you have aleady tried making an application to Google which has been unsuccessful, we can assist you with an appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office. 

Contact us today for a discussion about how we can assist you. 

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