The European Commission, Europe's regulatory body, continues to put Google under the spotlight. From record fines to monopolization accusations and flaunting GDPR laws, Google is a chief offender in the eyes of European lawmakers. However, Mountain View has scored a rare win on the continent this week.
An advisor to Europe's top court said the company can limit the “right to be forgotten” for internet searches conducted in Europe. The advice comes as part of Google's appeal against a fine handed out by French authorities.
Google was fined by French regulators in 2016 for not delisting sensitive information and limiting the right to be forgotten.
Maciej Szpunar is the advocate general and advises the European Court of Justice. In most cases, the court follows the advice and implements recommendations with a few months. It is worth noting there is no legal obligation for the court to follow Szpunar's advice.
Still, if this case follows historical cases, it could mean the court rules in favor of Google… a rare European victory for the company. Naturally, officials for the search giants welcomed the advice from Szpunar, while reiterating its focus on providing a right to be forgotten.
“We've worked hard to ensure that the right to be forgotten is effective for Europeans, including using geolocation to ensure 99 percent effectiveness,” Peter Fleischer, Google's senior privacy counsel, said.
Privacy or Information
Europe introduced a law five years ago that allows users to ask search engines to delist personal information. Google's case could have wider ramifications and will decide whether users right to privacy and the right for the public to know information is more important.
Europeans gained the right to ask search engines to delist certain information about them in a landmark ruling five years ago. If approved, a decision based on a balance between a person's right to privacy and the public's right to know, the content will not appear in search results.
Szpunar said searches happening outside the EU should not be included.
“The fundamental right to be forgotten must be balanced against other fundamental rights, such as the right to data protection and the right to privacy, as well as the legitimate public interest in accessing the information sought,” he said.