Right to Privacy Vs. Freedom of Information: ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Limited to EU

Written by | Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

The “right to be forgotten” should only apply to EU member countries, the European Court of Justice ruled last week. The Advocate General in charge of the ruling, Maciej Szpunar, commented that he was “not in favor of giving the provisions of EU law such a broad interpretation that they would have effects beyond the borders of the 28 member states.” He added that the demands for the “right to be forgotten” from outside the bloc should “not be affected by the de-referencing of the search results” globally.


The case was originally brought up by France’s Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL), stating that when a request is made for the removal of links to web pages, the removal has to be apply to all of the search engine’s domain extensions. This would in reality mean that when a right to be forgotten request is made and actioned, Google would have to be responsible for removing links across all of its domains. To that end, following the ruling, the US giant said that it was important to maintain the freedom of information worldwide.


“Public access to information, and the right to privacy, are important to people all around the world, as demonstrated by the number of global human rights, media and other organizations that have made their views known in this case,” Peter Fleischer, Senior Privacy Counsel at Google commented. “We’ve worked hard to ensure that the right to be forgotten is effective for Europeans, including using geolocation to ensure 99% effectiveness.” According to the court, “geo-blocking” tool is key to ensuring that right to be forgotten requests are carried out as needed, allowing for links to be removed based on a user’s IP rather than the domain name.

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