From the post:
Last month the French data protection authority – the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) – told Google that successful right to be forgotten requests made by Europeans should be applied across all of the company’s search engines, not just those in Europe.
In response, Google yesterday gave its unequivocal answer to that request: “Non!”
Writing on the company’s Google Europe blog, Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel, explained how the search giant had complied with the original “right to delist” ruling – which gives EU citizens the right to ask internet search engines to remove embarrassing, sensitive or inaccurate results for search queries that include their name – made by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2014.
Google does a great job of outlining the consequences of allowing global reach of right to be forgotten rulings:
While the right to be forgotten may now be the law in Europe, it is not the law globally. Moreover, there are innumerable examples around the world where content that is declared illegal under the laws of one country, would be deemed legal in others: Thailand criminalizes some speech that is critical of its King, Turkey criminalizes some speech that is critical of Ataturk, and Russia outlaws some speech that is deemed to be “gay propaganda.”
If the CNIL’s proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for Internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world’s least free place.
We believe that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access. We also believe this order is disproportionate and unnecessary, given that the overwhelming majority of French internet users—currently around 97%—access a European version of Google’s search engine like google.fr, rather than Google.com or any other version of Google.
As a matter of principle, therefore, we respectfully disagree with the CNIL’s assertion of global authority on this issue and we have asked the CNIL to withdraw its Formal Notice.
The only part of the post where I diverge from Google is with its “we respectfully disagree…” language.
The longer Google delays, the less interest on any possible penalty but I rather doubt that French regulators are going to back off. France is no doubt encouraged by similar efforts in Canada and Russia as reported by Lee Munson.
Google needs to sanction France before a critical mass of nations take up the censorship banner.
What sanctions? Stop google.fr servers, along with cloud and other computing services.
See how the French economy and people who depend on it reaction to a crippling loss of service.
The French people are responsible for the fools attempting to be global censors of the Internet. They can damned well turn them out as well.