It would not be necessary for Google to globally apply an earlier ruling that mandated that the United States based search engine giant comply with requests and demands for removal of online links globally, the top court of Europe has ruled. The new ruling essentially limited “de-referencing” of the order to just European Union domains.
This landmark legal ruling was made in relation to a legal battle initiated by France over it imposing the “right to be forgotten” on the web.
The 28-member European Union was essentially prevented from acquiring unprecedented powers for regulating the internet and its content even outside of its border, according to the Tuesday ruling of the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ).
The earlier ruling was made by judges of the same court in 2014 which essentially gave the right to individuals to, subject to certain conditions, to demand removal of references to them being removed from search engine results.
He was “not in favor of giving the provisions of EU law such a broad interpretation” that they apply outside the bloc’s member states, said the court’s top legal adviser, Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, in January this year.
He recommended that the court “should limit the scope of the de-referencing that search engine operators are required to carry out, to the EU.”
The latest ruling therefore means that only the European versions of the Google search page – for example on google.fr or google.de, would be liable for the “right to be forgotten”. Any other domain of the Google outside of the EU such as google.com would not have to comply with this right.
Measures should be put in place by a search engine operator in order to discourage users from going outside the EU to find that information, the ECJ said on Tuesday.
Almost 850,000 separate requests to remove links to about 3.3 million websites has had to be dealt with by Google since 2014. In order to strike a balance between what information should stay public and what should now be removed, an almost semi-regulatory role has been taken by the staff at Google. In order to filter all Google site results to Europeans so that information related to a person in another country and desired to be limited by that user is not seen by European users, Google has used so-called “geoblocking” since 2016.
(Adapted form AlJazeera.com)