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France Gives Google 15-Days To Comply With "Right to be Forgotten," Globally

     
2:27 pm on Jun 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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France's data protection regulator has called fore Google to comply with the request for the EU's "right to be forgotten", but on a global basis. The so-called "Right to be Forgotten" was complied with across Europe, but it makes a mockery of it when the material is still readily available by going to any one of google's other properties.

The data protection regulator has issued the deadline for compliance, but has not yet set out what happens if Google does not comply.

Following the assessment of the complaints, the CNIL has requested Google to carry out the delisting of several results. It was expressly requested that the delisting should be effective on whole search engine, irrespective of the extension used (.fr; .uk; .com …).

Although the company has granted some of the requests, delisting was only carried out on European extensions of the search engine and not when searches are made from “google.com” or other non-European extensions.

In accordance with the CJEU judgement, the CNIL considers that in order to be effective, delisting must be carried out on all extensions of the search engine and that the service provided by Google search constitutes a single processing.

In this context, the President of the CNIL has put Google on notice to proceed, within a period of fifteen (15) days, to the requested delisting on the whole data processing and thus on all extensions of the search engine.

France Gives Google 15-Days To Comply With "Right to be Forgotten" In Search World-Wide [cnil.fr]


Previous stories
Google Decides What to Remove in the EU's "Right to be Forgotten" [webmasterworld.com]

EU Court Backs Users' 'Right to be Forgotten' on Google [webmasterworld.com]
4:11 pm on June 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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French govt secretly hoping that Google's reply will be to reroute all French IPs to Google.fr ( they do already for android devices )..thus ensuring that those of us who live here can be kept in the dark about the "outside world" ( and any "uncomfortable" news items concerning the private lives etc of those who rule us here and their friends ) and only hear/read/see what the French govt wants us to..
4:30 pm on June 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I think they are hoping the data will be entirely removed, but I can see why that might be an alternative option.

Unless i've misunderstood, the legislation only requires removal in the EU region. Google complies by removing the material, Displaying the material was not part of the original legislation. The devil is in the detail!

If that was the case, I stand by my original thoughts on this that it was badly through through in the first place.

Just the same as the stupid cookie law, EU legislators really should not dabble in areas they seem to be uninformed.
5:28 pm on June 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In accordance with the CJEU judgement

The CNIL is not the French government but an "independent" regulator.

Their interpretation of the ECJ judgement seems to be somewhat idiosyncratic and will presumably be open to legal challenge in the court itself (the popping sound you hear is likely to be lawyers opening bottles of champagne).

It would be interesting - to say the least - were the ECJ to claim global jurisdiction over search engines in suppressing links to information that anyone else (including webmasters in the EU) is entirely free to publish.

From EU Directive 95/46:
Article 4 - National law applicable

1. Each Member State shall apply the national provisions it adopts pursuant to this Directive to the processing of personal data where:

(a) the processing is carried out in the context of the activities of an establishment of the controller on the territory of the Member State; when the same controller is established on the territory of several Member States, he must take the necessary measures to ensure that each of these establishments complies with the obligations laid down by the national law applicable;

From the Judgement of the European Court of Justice:
Article 4(1)(a) of Directive 95/46 is to be interpreted as meaning that processing of personal data is carried out in the context of the activities of an establishment of the controller on the territory of a Member State, within the meaning of that provision, when the operator of a search engine sets up in a Member State a branch or subsidiary which is intended to promote and sell advertising space offered by that engine and which orientates its activity towards the inhabitants of that Member State.

Perhaps the quickest solution would be to ask the judges to clarify what they meant.

A ruling that is open to misinterpretation is always a bad one.

...
10:42 am on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Oh so cynical Leosghost:-)
11:31 am on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Oh so cynical Leosghost:-)


Personally don't think he is.

I love my civil liberties and free speech is one. But embracing free speech means, for better or worse, everyone has that right.
11:44 am on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How does France expect its jurisdiction to apply throughout the world - without other countries claiming the same right?

If that happens, search engines will only be able to show results approved by all 200+ countries in the world - and so will have to remove anything from their .com versions not approved by say Iran, China and North Korea.

How can the French not see the absurdity of their position?
12:59 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If Google Inc does not comply with the formal notice within the fifteen days the President will be in position to nominate a Rapporteur to draft a report recommending to the CNIL Select Committee (the Committee in charge of imposing sanctions in case of violation of the French data protection law) to impose a sanction to the company.


Oh no - a *report* ! I'm sure Google is shivering in its boots.
1:24 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The absurdity of of a position has never been a barrier to its adoption by the govt or "authorities" in France ( and many other countries, although I meet such "positions" far more often here than I have elsewhere, and I'm pretty widely travelled ;)..The CNIL ( like almost all other "independent authorities" in France is nowhere near as "independent" as those who don't live in France ( and indeed many of those who do live in France ) might believe..due to the all pervasive influence of [ena.fr...] and the fact that the govt and the authorities are stuffed with ENA alumni ( known here as "enarques" [en.wikipedia.org...] whose loyalties are first and foremost to other "enarques" ) ..Hence my previous comment above..

Cynic ? Moi ?
Non..I'm a Realist..
1:51 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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>How does France expect its jurisdiction to apply throughout the world - without other countries claiming the same right?

Perhaps in the same way that the U.S. finds ways for U.S. copyright law to extend to, say....New Zealand.
2:44 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Oh no - a *report* ! I'm sure Google is shivering in its boots.

The CNIL report may well lead to a substantial fine - last year they fined Google on another matter and forced Google.fr to display a link on the search engine's front page to the CNIL ruling on their website.

The ensuing traffic crashed their server: [theguardian.com...]

The French not only have a word for "entrepreneur", they have one for "farce" as well.

...
3:31 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Be careful what you wish for, it just might happen, comes to mind. ;)
9:38 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The CNIL report may well lead to a substantial fine


Our idea of substantial probably isn't Google's. Not that they won't throw all the lawyers they got on it if they think it will set a precedent.
10:54 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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As the precedent would be an idiosyncratic French interpretation of an already controversial European ruling being applied globally - not least to their business in USA - I see little chance of Google rolling over on this one.

Leosghost's suggestion of using geolocation to divert all French IPs to Google.fr would seem to be the quickest and cheapest response, though I suspect that another ECJ ruling will ultimately be necessary.

Meanwhile, of course, any other website that is not a commercial search engine with an office in the EU can link to the "offending" material (which remains online, perfectly legally and entirely unaffected) as much as they want with impunity.

"Justice must not only be seen to be done but has to be seen to be believed." (J B Morton )

...
12:02 am on June 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Wasn't a "suggestion",( I would hate to be thought of as encouraging the current French Govt in their machinations ) although I ( and many others ) could easily get around an IP redirect if they did that , but as G redirected already all android devices to Google.fr as their default page when the last EU decision re "right to be forgotten" was handed down, I think it is highly likely that extending that to redirecting all French IPs to Google.fr will be what G will do, at which point I expect that the current French Govt will tell the CNIL to accept the "compromise", which will suit the curent govt here and it's friends very nicely..and may well have been their intention all along..

Other EU governments may choose to try to force Google to do likewise with their IPs ( it depends how much they would like to keep any "skeletons" that their politicians etc might have, away from the eyes of their citizens ), the French governments of all complexions, but particularly the current one, do have a particularly cosy relationship with the national media ( both Press and TV, and even French language news websites ), the media does not ask embarassing questions of them, the French Media is on the whole very docile and does not shed much light upon things done by Politicians, their families or friends, and especially "enarques" from the same "promotion" which would be headline news in other countries..Many politicians here are in relationships with many media reporters..

Members of the CNIL are "designated" by politicians..( hence their "independence" is very theoretical, despite their claims, one does not bite the hand of the fellow enarque politician who gives one a job which carries very large salary, many many "perks" and a gold plated pension attached, one can show one's gratitude in a myriad ways ; ) the current head of the CNIL, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin is an "enarque", as is the CNILs internet "specialist" Nicolas Colin ( who was also designated by a current govt politician Claude Bartolone )..and is the French "brain" behind the idea to tax economic activity relmated to the internet in France..The idea was floated in his book " L'Age de la multitude "..
BTW..in the incident mentioned above by samizdata in which the traffic from the item and link that the CNIL forced Google to display on Google.fr for 48 hours last year, Google did not add the item, nor the link to Google.fr when accessed from a mobile device, ( probably just as well really, given that the CNIL site fell over with just the traffic from the curious who arrived at Google.fr via desktop ;) ..story ( apologies it is in French only ) [linformaticien.com...] here..
1:13 am on June 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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For information..
The members of the CNIL ( English language page ) [cnil.fr...]
The current members of the CNIL with links to their individual "details" ( French language pages only )
[cnil.fr...]
The 17 members are.. 4 politicians, 5 other members appointed directly by the government , 6 representatives of the courts ( the legal professions are highly politicised in France, the majority of the judges and lawyers are aligned with the current govt ), 2 members of politically appointed "councils"..
5 of the 17 are enarques..

"independent"
2:33 am on June 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There will be a court battle, sooner or later, and whatever the ruling, France will ultimately suffer as G is not a multinational and losing one "recalcitrant partner" is not an end to the game.

This whole "right to be forgotten" thing needs to be re-thought ... ON BOTH SIDES of the equation. but that's not likely to happen. One a politico speaks, he./she just doubles down after that. (sigh)
10:02 am on June 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How does France expect its jurisdiction to apply throughout the world - without other countries claiming the same right?


Maybe to "just" prevent a user in France/EU to be able to access the content on any other google.xx service by detecting their actual location? Currently, they can just change the TLD to find the "blocked" content.

I'm sure there's already indexes popping up that are specifically indexing the content that Google has been instructed to block?!
6:35 pm on June 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google has just lost a very similar case in Canada.
[plagiarismtoday.com ]
2:38 pm on June 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Wow, more info here:

[hollywoodreporter.com...]

Google has suffered what could be its worst legal defeat since Europe's top court ordered takedowns as part of an individual's "right to be forgotten." On Thursday, a Canadian appeals court upheld injunctions mandating that Google remove certain pirate sites from its search engine on a worldwide basis.

[edited by: engine at 7:59 am (utc) on Jun 17, 2015]
[edit reason] added quote for completeness [/edit]

7:40 am on June 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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From a technical point of view its probably quite easy for google to comply. If theyve already removed it from the french google then how difficult can it be to remove it from the rest?
8:26 am on June 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Cases aren't the same, and same result is not to be expected.

The Canadian case is regards intellectual properties (theft/infringement) and bears no similarity to "right to be forgotten".

Let us please stay on topic!
3:53 pm on June 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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From a technical point of view its probably quite easy for google to comply. If theyve already removed it from the french google then how difficult can it be to remove it from the rest?

Sure, and if North Korea demanded that an unflattering page about Kim Jong-Un be removed from worldwide search results, Google could do that, too. But what kind of precedent would that set?
5:24 pm on June 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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but they've already done it, by removing it from the french version.

its all a bit silly really, because google haven't complied with the order at all if its still easily accessible from google.com in france.

either they are going to stop it appearing in france, or they're not. but to turn around and say that they have complied is just making the french out to be fools
6:56 pm on June 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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stop it appearing in france

The so-called "right to be forgotten" applies in all 28 EU member states plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

So far, only France has claimed it should apply worldwide.

The actual material involved is published perfectly legally on websites throughout the EU (including France), remains online, and can be linked to by any other site that is not a commercial search engine with an office in the EU.

One significant obstacle to the French demand would be the US constitution.

...
7:24 pm on June 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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But what has google actually done to comply with the court?
If it is still showing on google.com in france then they have basically done nothing.

Google obviously knows where user is located because otherwise they wouldnt try and redirect them to google.fr. So all they have to do is hide a listing based on the users location, rather than the search engine extension. Then they can keep it in google.com for everyone who's not in france.

i mean, come on... I can go on google.com right now and see location-specific SERPs and AdWords adverts, so they clearly know where i am on the "american version" of the search engine. All it would take would be some kind of database lookup to hide the relevant listings. France will be happy, and what they show to the rest of the world would be totally unaffected.

That is easily possible for a company like google... its just a question of cost. If google wants to do business in europe then they should be made to cover the cost. Why should europe have any sympathy for an american company flouting european law, when the company in question doesnt even pay its fair share of european tax. Viva la France!
8:06 pm on June 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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what has google actually done to comply with the court?

They have acted (albeit under duress) without remuneration as a quasi-legal arbitrator in thousands of "right to be forgotten" cases, and modified their search results on 32 of their European websites accordingly.

The court ruling applies "when the operator of a search engine sets up in a Member State a branch or subsidiary which is intended to promote and sell advertising space offered by that engine and which orientates its activity towards the inhabitants of that Member State."

Only the CNIL (which is not a court) has demanded that Google should also forfeit their rights under the US Constitution and censor what US citizens can see on the public web - despite the material being published perfectly legally.

Viva la France!

I don't think French law has applied in USA since the Louisiana Purchase.

And the "right to be forgotten" is an EU law.

...
8:47 pm on June 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, but they dont have to censor anything in the USA if they check the users location when they use google.com (and all the other extensions). They already tailor the results for users anyway (through personalised search), so what is the big deal in tailoring it for people located in the EU, and not showing those links?
8:57 pm on June 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Geo-location via IP address is not 100% accurate..even when done by Google..A French AOL user can show up as being in the UK or Germany..or France for example..There are other examples of IP addresses appearing to be from a different EU country than the one in which the user is actually located..and then there are mobile devices "roaming" close to borders..
Then there are VPN servers..I ( in France ) can appear to be anywhere in the world, if I want to, and if a VPN server is available to me at the place I wish to appear to be ..
9:22 pm on June 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The funny thing about this whole business is that it's all over a load of stories that 99.99999999999999% of us don't know about... won't know about... and wouldn't care less about even if we did. all we care about is the law itself.

Some guy steals a sandwich when he was a kid and decides twenty years later he doesnt want his employers knowing about it, and millions end up being spent all around the world on lawyers and meetings in courts and corporate boardrooms, ha ha.
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