The Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, or C.N.I.L - France’s privacy watchdog - rejected Google’s informal appeal against the formal notice requesting it to apply delisting on all of the search engine’s domain names. The European Court of Justice last year allowed anyone with connections to Europe to request that global search engines remove links to items about themselves from queries.
Since then, Google received tens of thousands of requests from French citizens. It delisted some results on the European extensions of the search engine (.fr; .es; .co.uk; etc.). However, it has not proceeded with delisting on other geographical extensions or on google.com, which any internet user may alternatively visit.
In May 2015, the President of the CNIL therefore put Google on notice to proceed with delisting on all of the search engine’s domain names. At the end of July, Google filed an informal appeal asking the president to withdraw this public formal notice. Google argued in particular that it would impede the public’s right to information and would be a form of censorship.
In the light of the applicable legal framework, CNIL's president has decided to reject this informal appeal.
Since the informal appeal has been rejected, the Google must now comply with the formal notice. Otherwise, the president of the CNIL may designate a Rapporteur who may refer to the CNIL’s sanctions committee with a view of obtaining a ruling on this matter.
The watchdog said that Google must now apply the privacy decision to its global domains or face fines that could total as much as $340,000. Google was fined $170,000 last year for failing to adhere to France’s rules in a separate privacy case. The company may appeal any potential fine in the French courts.
Google said on Monday that it disagreed with the French regulator’s aim to expand the right-to-be-forgotten ruling beyond Europe’s borders.
"We’ve worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe, and we’ll continue to do so," the company said in a statement.