France rejects Google appeal on search clean-up

Peter Fleischer: Called request to clean up results 'troubling'.

Data privacy regulators in France took a step towards sanctioning Google by rejecting the company’s request to drop a case against it for refusing to clean up information from its search engine results.

Under Europe’s right to be forgotten rule, people can ask search engines to remove details that appear under a search of their name if it is incorrect, out of date, irrelevant or inflammatory.

But Google only de-lists links on European versions of its sites, meaning the information remains available.

The French authority, the CNIL, in June ordered Google to de-list on request search results appearing under a person’s name from all its websites.

The company refused in July and requested the CNIL abandon its efforts, which the regulator officially refused to do yesterday.

A CNIL spokesman said Google was required to comply immediately and begin de-listing information about French residents from all of its sites. If it refused, the CNIL will spend the next two months preparing sanctions that can include up to €150,000 in fines, climbing to €300,000 for repeat offences.

Google said it had worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten ruling “thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe” and would continue to do so.

In July, Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, called France’s request to clean up global results “troubling” .


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