A French regulatory authority is asking Google to remove search results delisted from the "right to be forgotten" ruling globally or face sanctions.
Google started delisting search results through the "right to be forgotten" ruling enacted in the EU last year, but the search giant limited the removal of results to its domains in Europe. French privacy watchdog CNIL (National Commission on Informatics and Liberty) is now ordering Google to remove the results from all instances of the search engine, irrespective of the domain.
Citing the Court of Justice of the European Union's ruling, CNIL said:
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.
CNIL is giving Google fifteen days to comply, failing which it will impose a sanction:
No further action will be taken if the company complies in all aspects and in the given period of time with the formal notice. If this is the case, the proceeding will be closed and this decision will also be made public.
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.
For its part, Google said that it has complied with the wording of the law:
We've been working hard to strike the right balance in implementing the European Court's ruling, co-operating closely with data protection authorities. The ruling focused on services directed to European users, and that's the approach we are taking in complying with it.
Even if the CNIL were to sanction Google, the French regulatory body has the authority to impose a maximum fine of 150,000 Euro, which is unlikely to make a dent to Google's coffers.