EU Top Court: Europe’s “Right to be Forgotten” Does Not Apply Globally

BY Heather Greenfield
September 24, 2019

Brussels, BELGIUM — Today, the EU Court of Justice ruled that removed or delisted web links (or URLs) from search engines should not apply worldwide. Europe’s highest court was asked to provide direction on how broadly search engines should remove domain names or delist URLs in response to requests from EU citizens.

The ongoing proceeding follows a referral from the French administrative High Court (‘Conseil d’Etat’) to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) regarding a decision of the French data protection authority (CNIL).  

The Court’s decision recognizes search engines’ efforts to honor EU residents’ rights to be delisted without compromising constitutional guarantees from countries outside the EU, including freedom of information. 

Following a 2014 CJEU decision, search engines have worked with European data protection authorities to ensure that individuals in the EU can effectively exercise their right to be “delisted” from their service. To date, search engines such as Google have removed access to nearly 1.3 million URLs from search domains across Europe. In addition, they also block access to delisted URLs via other country search domains, when accessed from the country of the person who requested the delisting. In other words, someone in France using the “.com”, “.de” or “.jp” version of a search engine will not be able to access a URL that was delisted at the request of a French resident.

Today’s decision is binding and follow the recommendations of Advocate General Spuznar

The following can be attributed to CCIA Senior Manager Alexandre Roure: 

“Today’s ruling honors EU residents’ ‘right to be forgotten’ without compromising the constitutional rights of citizens outside of the EU. We are pleased to see that the decision recognizes industry’s efforts to achieve this delicate balance.”

For media inquiries, please contact: Heather Greenfield [email protected]

Related Articles

Senate Commerce Hearing On Privacy; CCIA Welcomes Push To Fund FTC, Pass Privacy Legislation

Sep 29, 2021

Washington — The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing today on consumer privacy with Chairwoman Maria Cantwell focusing on the need to pass baseline federal privacy and to ensure the FTC has adequate resources to address privacy. Ahead of the hearing, the Computer & Communications Industry Association sent a letter to committee leaders expressing appreciation…

EU Court Opinion Sets Limits to Use of Upload Filters in New EU Copyright Rules

Jul 15, 2021

Brussels, BELGIUM  — The EU top court’s Advocate General, Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe, today provided his opinion on the Polish government’s request to annul the controversial Article 17 in the new EU Copyright rules. Poland requested that the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) annul Article 17 due to infringement of the right to freedom…

Industry Groups Urge Protection of Fundamental Principles and Rights in the Digital Services Act

Jul 9, 2021

Brussels, BELGIUM — The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) today joined other industry organizations in a joint statement asking EU Member States to respect the fundamental principles of the e-Commerce Directive during the negotiations of the Digital Services Act (DSA)  The signatories support an ambitious DSA and its objectives to protect consumers and their…