On 24 September 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU"), following Advocate General (the "AG") Szpunar's Opinion, circumscribed the territorial scope of the de-referencing right to the European Union in the case C-507/17 Google LLC (successor in law to Google Inc.) v Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL). The de-referencing is the right of individuals to request from online search engine operators that they remove information concerning them from the list of results displayed following a search on their name, the results of which are based on information indexed by the search engine on the internet.
According to the CJEU, the operator of a search engine is not required by EU law to carry out a de-referencing on all versions of its search engine, but only the versions implemented in all the Member States.
De-referencing beyond EU borders is not an obligation or a prohibited practice for search engine operators according to the Court. It underlines that the authorities of Member States remain competent to balance the right to privacy and protection of personal data on one hand and the freedom of information on the other hand and, where appropriate, to order the concerned operators of search engine to de-reference the information on all versions of their search engine.
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