Today a French court deferred to the EU’s highest court the question of whether a French “right to be forgotten” ruling should apply to online search results globally.

Essentially the EU’s top court will now have to decide if the balance between the right to free expression and the right to privacy should be struck by each country or if one (French) approach should apply for all globally.

Many organisations had expressed concerns with the French approach and its impact on freedom of speech, press freedom and the right to access information on the Internet.  A coalition of 29 media organisations commented “that French authorities had no right to force their interests on Internet users in other countries.”  Wikimedia had argued that “No single nation should attempt to control what information the entire world may access. This case would fundamentally undermine the Wikimedia vision of a world where every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.”

Given its global implications, including the potential for new conflicts of national laws, this new EU court proceeding will be one to watch…

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