Right to be Forgotten Battle: Google v France

Judith Thompson

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Google and France are currently locked in a legal battle about how far the "right to be forgotten" should extend. What are these rights and how could this decision affect you?

What is the right to be forgotten?

Since 2014, as a result of a case decided by the European Court of Justice, people have had the right to make an application to Google for the "right to be forgotten" to restrict the access to material about them online.

If the right to be forgotten application is successful, (and Google has indicated that around 40% of cases are) when a person's name is searched on Google, the link will be broken between that person's name and certain websites. 

When a right to be forgotten application is successful in an EU member state, the link must be broken across all states. However, the search results would still be available outside the EU, most notably on google.com. 

What is the French case about?

France's data watchdog, recently ordered Google to delete some of its search results globally, such as on google.com (and imposed a £76,000 fine on the company). Google are appealing this decision. 

The French authorities believe that when a "right to be forgotten" application is successful in France, the results ought to be removed worldwide. Google is appealing on the basis that in "less open and democratic" jurisdictions, this could be open to abuse and that by making the ruling, France's government is attempting to go beyond it's own jurisdiction and into the international arena.

If the French government is successful, it could have implications for UK citizens, as their right to be forgotten applications, if successful, would be far more effective.

Can I apply for the "right to be forgotten"?

At Samuels, we have a niche specialism in internet based claims, including the right to be forgotten. If you would like to make an application for the right to be forgotten, click here and complete our simple online form or visit https://www.right2bforgotten.co.uk.

If you would like to discuss these services further with an expert, contact us today.