Last month, French privacy watchdog CNIL ordered Google to delist "right to be forgotten" requests globally and not just from Google's European properties. Google has now issued a blog post stating that it would not comply with the French regulator's demands:
While the right to be forgotten may now be the law in Europe, it is not the law globally. If the CNIL's proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for Internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world's least free place.
We've worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe, and we'll continue to do so. But as a matter of principle, therefore, we respectfully disagree with the CNIL's assertion of global authority on this issue and we have asked the CNIL to withdraw its formal notice.
According to the European Court of Justice's ruling last May, European residents can ask search engines to remove certain links that show up when searching for their name, as long as the information appears to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive … in the light of the time that had elapsed."
Google complied with the court's ruling, processing over a quarter of a million requests over the course of the year, which resulted in the search giant delisting 369,402 URLs (41 percent of the total requests) from all European versions of Google Search.
Coming to CNIL's demand, however, Google said that the order was "disproportionate:"
We believe that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access. We also believe this order is disproportionate and unnecessary, given that the overwhelming majority of French internet users—currently around 97%—access a European version of Google's search engine like google.fr, rather than Google.com or any other version of Google.
A CNIL spokeswoman said that the regulator would review Google's statement, and that a final decision will be made in under two months:
We have taken note of Google's arguments which are mostly of a political nature. The CNIL, on the other hand, has relied on a strictly legal reasoning.
Should the two parties fail to come to an agreement, Google will likely face fines in France for refusing to comply with the country's rules.