Thursday

6th Oct 2022

EU regulators want right-to-be forgotten to go global

Demands by EU citizens for their names to no longer appear in a search engine result following a right-to-be forgotten request could be extended worldwide.

“From the legal and technical analysis we have been doing, it should include the dot coms. That is all that we are saying,” the head of the EU’s main privacy regulatory body, the article 29 working party, Isabelle Falque-Pirrotin, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (26 November).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Google has received some 174,226 requests to have links removed since the Court’s ruling (Photo: Trey Ratcliff)

It means Google, for instance, would also have to de-list any link from its main Google.com site in the US and not just from its European-based affiliates like Google.co.uk or others.

The data regulators oppose limiting de-listing to EU domains. They say imposing a geographic border cannot guarantee rights to privacy would be respected.

Google chief Eric Schmidt has earlier said such rights should only be applied to domains based inside the EU.

It follows a European Court of Justice decision over the summer.

The Luxembourg-based court concluded it was reasonable to ask Google to amend searches based on a person’s name if the data is irrelevant, out of date, inaccurate, or an invasion of privacy.

Original content is not removed or altered in any way and can still be found using any other search query.

“It is important to repeat this because even five months after the decision of the court, there are still people thinking that the content has been deleted,” said Falque-Pirrotin.

As of Tuesday, the Internet giant has received some 174,226 requests to have links removed since the Court’s ruling.

The requests total 602,479 urls. Of those, some 41.5 percent have been de-listed or the equivalent of 208,520 links.

Most of the requests are from France (34,632), followed by Germany (29,528), and the UK (22,467).

Falque-Pirrotin’s announcement is part of a larger set of 13 guidelines for the search engines to follow on how to properly apply the ruling.

The guidelines are non-binding and may evolve over time.

The rules are designed to create a uniform application of the Court’s judgment and were adopted by the article 29 working party, composed of national data protection authorities, also on Wednesday.

The complete list is set for publication by the end of the week at the latest.

The regulators met twice with Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Qwant to discuss the guidelines.

They also want greater transparency on the decisions by the search engines on the requests in terms of providing more statistics and reports.

The overall demands by the regulators may increase tensions from the firms who contest the Court’s ruling in the first place.

Critics say it oversteps the right to the freedom of expression. Advocates say it puts in place rules needed to ensure people’s privacy is respected.

Google, for its part, is also facing pressure from anti-trust regulators in Brussels over its market dominance.

MEPs in Strasbourg on Thursday are set to vote on a resolution on how tackle Internet dominance and monopolies.

Feature

Who governs the online world?

The Internet feels like it's always been there, so it's easy to forget how recently it became part of normality. But as it keeps growing, and attracts more controversy, who runs it?

MEPs condemn EU Commission 'leniency' on Hungary

MEPs criticised the EU Commission for what they see as the executive not being tough enough on the government of Viktor Orbán, as Hungary's parliament passed new legislation as part of a deal with the EU executive.

EU adding Bahamas to tax-haven blacklist

The EU is adding Anguilla, the Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos Islands to its blacklist of tax-havens, in what some have called a "fig-leaf" exercise.

Opinion

What von der Leyen's 'State of Union' didn't mention

Ursula von der Leyen barely noticed that European democracy is under attack not only from external threats, but from within. Two of the world's leading autocratic countries are EU member states.

News in Brief

  1. Thousands of Hungarian students and teachers protest
  2. Swedish MEP cuts hair mid-speech to support Iran women
  3. Danish general election called for 1 November
  4. Slovenia legalises gay marriage, adoption
  5. Russia's stand-in EU ambassador reprimanded on Ukraine
  6. France warns over incoming eighth Covid wave
  7. EU adds Anguilla, Bahamas and Turks and Caicos to tax-haven blacklist
  8. Czechs warn joint-nationality citizens in Russia on mobilisation

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  2. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  4. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  5. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”

Latest News

  1. EU wants to see US list on Russia financing of politicians
  2. Putin's twin aim: to break Ukraine and West's consensus
  3. Putin's diamond firm off the hook in EU sanctions
  4. The Iranian regime's expiration date
  5. Let's end Bulgaria and Romania's 11-year Schengen purgatory
  6. EU debates new pandemic-type loans to deal with crisis
  7. MEPs condemn EU Commission 'leniency' on Hungary
  8. Czech EU presidency wants asylum pledges to be secret

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us