Then, in November, the EU adopted new guidelines that called for the rules to be extended globally. The bone of contention here is that EU-managed Google domains, such as Google.fr or Google.de, would be required to delist certain information, but that might be meaningless. Someone might want information posted about them to be removed for any number of reasons; maybe it’s old, maybe it’s unflattering, maybe it’s a mugshot of a now-cleared charge or maybe it’s an embarrassing YouTube video.
A Google-backed advisory group has sided with the search giant in the debate in the so-called “right to be forgotten,” which gives citizens of the European Union the option to have some personal information erased from search engines.
On Friday, the advisory group of experts — including advocates, politicians, academics and even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales — published a 44-page report backing up Google’s stance that the regulations should apply only within the European Union.
URL removal requests have generated a considerable amount of interest. Right now, Google charts the total requests in the EU at 212,673. The tech giant has evaluated and removed a total of 769,858 URLs.
The report noted that the “right to be forgotten” does not apply uniformly, only to information that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.” If there is an “overriding public interest,” Google has obligation to remove a URL. According to the report, Google compensated the eight members of the advisory group only for their travel costs. They were not paid to participate.
Although a majority of the Google experts supported the EU limitations, the group wasn’t dissent-free. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, former federal minister of justice in Germany, argued that the right to be forgotten should apply to all of Google’s domains, not just those that happen to be geographically located in Europe.
“The internet is global, the protection of the user’s rights must also be global,” she wrote. “Any circumvention of these rights must be prevented. Since EU residents are able to research globally the EU is authorized to decide that the search engine has to delete all the links globally.” Read more…