On March 10, 2016, the French data protection agency («
CNIL ») pronounced a €100.000 ($111,715) fine against
Google Inc. for failure to comply with its formal injunction of
May, 2015 ordering the company to extend delisting to all the
search engine's extensions.
Further to a decision of the Court of Justice of the European
Union ("ECJ", C-131/12) of May 13, 2014, the
right to be delisted is applicable to search engines. As a result,
each EU residents is entitled – provided that s/he has
legitimate grounds – to request to the search engines to
remove one or more results displayed following a search made on the
basis of his/her name.
In order to comply with such decision, Google created on May 29,
2014 a new on-line form allowing users to request such removals,
the delisting being only carried out on European extensions of the
Since then, Google registered more than 400.000 requests, France
being the country which sent the most requests (more than 80,000
being noted that 51.5% of them are accepted by Google).
Nonetheless, considering that Google did not fully comply with
the ECJ decision, in May 2015, the French Data Protection watchdog
ordered to Google to extend the delisting to all domain names of
the search engine within 15 days of its decision. The informal
appeal filed by Google against such an injunction was rejected by
the French Authority in September, 2015.
Then, CNIL decided to initiate a sanction procedure against the
During the process, Google in particular put forward that:
CNIL was exceeding its own powers
given that it has only jurisdiction on the French territory and
could not require a worldwide delisting;
in January 2016, it decided to extend
the right to delisting on all Google search engines accessed from
the country of the person making the request;
a global delisting would
disproportionally infringe the freedom of speech and the right to
CNIL dismissed Google's arguments and ruled that:
CNIL was entitled to require such a
delisting given that "Google search" was one and single
data processing having different local extensions and that the
company was operating on the French territory through its French
the limitation of the delisting, even
with Google's new improvement, could not be considered a
sufficient means to satisfactorily guarantee the rights of data
subjects according to the ECJ's decision as it would still be
possible for a French citizen to access to the data for instance
when travelling outside of the EU;
Regarding the freedom of speech
limitation and right to information, the extension would not have
any effect on such rights as the delisting process never led to
deletion of the information but only to the removal of specific
links following a search made on the basis of the plaintiff's
There is a strong likelihood that Google Inc. is going to file
an appeal against CNIL's decision which means that the right to
be forgotten will still give rise to interpretation as to its scope
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