Google To French Regulators Looking To Expand 'Right To Be Forgotten' Globally: Forget About It

from the forget-you dept

Earlier this summer we wrote about some ridiculous demands coming out of France, asking that Google expand the "right to be forgotten" globally. As you hopefully already know, last year, a European court came out with a troubling ruling that required Google into a sort of "right to be forgotten" situation, where links associated with someone's name that were magically deemed no longer relevant, needed to be "de-linked." Google reluctantly complied, and has since been busy de-linking many individuals from totally factual news stories about them. But, given that this was the law in Europe, it only did so in Europe.

That resulted in the complaint from France -- to which Google has now responded by saying it will not comply with a global right to be forgotten, because the results would be catastrophic for free speech and the open internet:
This is a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web.

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 [French regulator'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 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.
I can't see into the future, but I'll take a wild guess and suggest that the French regulators aren't going to just back down following this response, no matter how reasonable and rational it is. European regulators continue to seem to think the internet can be twisted, censored and molded in their own interest, and don't seem to understand just how badly that will backfire. It's likely that this simple explanation will fall on deaf ears and there will soon be a big fight over this. Stay tuned.

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  • identicon
    Stosh, 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:29am

    I'm sure they understand that Google is simply a means to find content written by others....no, I guess not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    THeoden, 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:32am

    Cut them off

    Seems like Germany and Spain asked for Google to tinker with their listings and the citizens got a bit upset...

    I think Google should shut down their EU services and let the countries decide what to do. Maybe they will learn that Google!= Internet

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lets get this right, 30 Jul 2015 @ 2:38pm

      Re: Cut them off

      Google does NOT = internet. Google is an application/service that is widely accessed via the internet. Google!= Internet in bad politician speak.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:32am

    *from the conspiracy theorist inside of me*

    This will just push the governments of the world to form a one world government, then what laws they decide will be gospel throughout the entire land!!

    Its sad, but I can actually see copyright maximalist pushing for something like this, they already try to rule the world, that would just make it easier!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Chris Brand, 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:47am

      Re:

      They wouldn't be able to policy launder through "trade agreements" and the like.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      That One Other Not So Random Guy, 30 Jul 2015 @ 12:02pm

      Re:

      It is no conspiracy. Look at all the leaders that are calling for a "New World Order." Biden, Bush, Putin, etc. Google is your friend... unless you are boB.

      “The ‘affirmative task’ before us is to “create a New World Order.”
      –VP Joe Biden, speech Import Export Bank, April 5, 2013

      “I think that his [Obama’s] task will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period, when really a New World Order can be created.”
      —Henry Kissinger, CNBC 2008

      “We will succeed in the Gulf. And when we do, the world community will have sent an enduring warning to any dictator or despot, present or future, who contemplates outlaw aggression. The world can therefore seize this opportunity to fufill the long-held promise of a new world order – where brutality will go unrewarded, and aggression will meet collective resistance.”
      –President George HW Bush, State of the Union Address 1991

      “We have before us the opportunity to forge, for ourselves and for future generations, a New World Order. A world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, rules all nations. When we are successful–and we will be–we have a real chance at this New World Order. An order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping forces to fulfill the promise and vision of its founders.”
      —George H.W. Bush, March 21, 1991

      “How I Learned to Love the New World Order”
      –article by Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Wall Street Journal, April 1992

      “In the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all.”
      —Strobe Talbot, Deputy Secretary of State, TIME, July l992

      “We are moving toward a new world order, the world of communism. We shall never turn off that road.”
      —Mikhail Gorbachev, 1987


      “Each of us has the hope to build a New World Order.”
      –President Richard Nixon, Hangzhou, China, February 1972


      “Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles tonight called for the early creation of an international organization of anti-Axis nations to control the world during the period between the armistice at the end of the present war and the setting up of a new world order on a permanent basis.”
      —Philadelphia Inquirer, June 1942

      “We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.”
      —David Rockefeller

      “One of the least understood strategies of the world revolution now moving rapidly toward its goal is the use of mind control as a major means of obtaining the consent of the people who will be subjects of the New World Order.”
      –K.M. Heaton, National Educator

      There are plenty more examples, but be careful... Timmah may call you a conspiracy theorist and go a 14 paragraph rant about it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:35pm

        Re: Re:

        New world order refers to a period of history in which significant changes in "global" policy and thinking came about. It does not mean "One World Government".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          “In the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all.”
          —Strobe Talbot, Deputy Secretary of State, TIME, July l992

          Certainly sounds like a one world government plan, ofc its just a comment on the Internet, but if you consider the current political theatre, its not such a far stretch.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:35pm

      Re:

      They don't need to -- what I see is the right to be forgotten getting rolled into the TPP as a "concession".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DCL, 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:35am

    Worse then that...

    "In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world’s least free place."


    It worse then that. It should read:
    "In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the sum of all the world’s least free places. "

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:01pm

      Re: Worse then that...

      To be even more pedantic,

      It is the intersection of least freedoms.

      But everyone gets the idea. Everyone everywhere gets to chip away at the monolith labeled "domain of speech", and the only thing left are the chips too small for people to pocket as souvenirs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Dead Zone, 30 Jul 2015 @ 2:44pm

      Re: Worse then that...

      I agree in general but I think what the "big players" want is the internet to be a big department store that vacuums up money for them. No distractions from that simple function can be allowed except perhaps propaganda that maintains their power.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:43am

    If the EU goes to far google may have to rename and reincorporate a company specifically for the EU. It can go on being the same thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:45am

    The only problem with the right to be forgotten is that it doesn't work against Elephants.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:45am

    That's a feature, not a bug

    If the [French regulator'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.

    While an excellent point, it's also wasted effort. I have no doubt that, even if they never admitted it, the kind of people pushing for such draconian restrictions on the internet, forcing local laws or rulings to be applied globally see absolutely nothing wrong with other countries doing the same, even if it would mean all but destroying the internet as it currently exists.

    As long as they get to force their idea of 'what should be' onto everyone else, they don't care one bit about what happens when other countries or governments do the same.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:52am

    Some small island nation should sign a deal with Google that they will never require Google to censor its search results in any way, but they want a small portion of the ad revenue as part of the deal. For example, Tuvalu. Then everyone would start using Google.tv as their default search address.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 12:04pm

    If France is going to be insistent, Google should declare "cyber"-war and France can do their surrender thing. Then we can all move along.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 12:05pm

    Google is probably the most powerful tool created in the last 30 years. Too powerful for governments to allow.

    The only problem is that, currently, search is a product rather than a protocol and can be controlled and regulated centrally. In order to keep the benefits of such technology in the hands of the many, it will likely need to become a protocol. Owned by no one and accessible to everyone.

    YaCy looks promising.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YaCy

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 12:11pm

    Le Sigh....

    Doesn't the world have a right to forget about France?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tavis, 30 Jul 2015 @ 12:57pm

    It only takes one.

    If any country were to be allowed to dictate what search results can and cannot appear, they all must, and it only takes one of them to say "Do not show ANY sites not approved by our state." And then one country's propaganda would be the only message allowed anywhere.

    Obviously the latter would be unacceptable to the rest of the world, so why would the former be? No, France, you cannot control what appears on the Internet. No country can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Chris-Mouse (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:36pm

      Re: It only takes one.

      So what happens when one country says "you MUST show our propaganda" and a second country says "you must NOT show propaganda from that other country"?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:42pm

        Re: Re: It only takes one.

        That is when the politicians start a war, because the main objective of most politicians is to force their world view on others. This is the attitude of the likes of ISIS, and they cannot see it, because the details of their view differs from the ones that they object to.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:38pm

      Re: It only takes one.

      ...any country were to be allowed to dictate what search results can and cannot appear...to say "Do not show ANY sites not approved by our state."...


      China and a few middle east countries are already doing that! And not just with search results, but with entire websites. Even email is not immune: I remember responding to an email inquiry in the 90s and having it bounce back as "domain not allowed in this country".

      How successful such efforts are is another story.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Radix, 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:16pm

    Two can play that game...

    If the French think they can delist everybody globally, then it only takes the US (or, more realistically, some country more willing to troll the French) to pass a law declaring it illegal to delist anybody globally.

    In other words, if EU laws can be enforced outside the EU, then they should be afraid of somebody trying to enforce outside laws IN the EU, to the detriment of French wishes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 2:03pm

    I can't wait for google to drop their "nuclear" option and stop french operations all together. The stories I'll get to read here will be excellent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 2:09pm

    Google should completely stop doing business with France completely. With no more Google, Gmail, Youtube etc. what is France going to do then apart from scream, shout, whine and moan. There is no law forcing Google to do business with the country of France so tough luck to France is Google pulls out of France of this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ServerBody, 30 Jul 2015 @ 2:54pm

      Re:

      Google will not have to stop "doing business" in France. Just pull the servers out of France (if they have any); the internet will do the rest and find Google in the country next door.


      Now France could have ISPs block all of Google's IP addresses - worked great for Pirates Bay right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 4:06pm

    agree with you but the problem isn't now or even then, the problem was why the various governments HAD to try to restrict and police the internet in their own countries. i suspect the reason was because of the speed information travels and that those governments had no way of telling how much tax they were losing due to being unable to keep track of the buying and selling. the biggest instigator is Cameron in the UK. he seems to be as clueless as a clueless person, in the vain of Blackadder, just rolling in any direction he is prodded, usually by the US government and/or Hollywood. in typical 'i'll do whatever you want me to do, special relationship father, so just say the word and i'll fuck up totally my country and all in it, just to save a single movie from being downloaded'!
    what a fucking plum!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 4:30pm

    I wonder what would happen if Google forgot all of France for a month.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CanadianByChoice (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 9:07pm

    This is what the EU wants

    The talk of withdrawing from France (as has already happened in Spain) is playing right into the hands of what the EU politicians want. They can't honestly compete and they can't just tell Google to go away without major public backlash; they CAN, however, spin-doctor it to look like a public service and get Google to withdraw. That way, the tech industry in the EU - that has never honestly tried to compete - gets a free hand up and the politicians (think they) look like heros.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    VG Media, 30 Jul 2015 @ 10:04pm

    Hey, Florian! I vergisse, who do we hassen more, the Google or the Französisch?

    That's a tough Frage, Ralf... sehr tough...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 4:32am

    Goal

    "In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world’s least free place."

    Isn't that the goal?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jasmine Charter, 31 Jul 2015 @ 5:17am

    It's France...

    It's France... all Google has to do is have some of its employees do some goose-stepping and France will roll over and show it's belly.

    Seriously... Google needs to disable their search engine and all their apps for France for a month and see what kind of outrage it generates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MrSport, 1 Aug 2015 @ 10:23am

    Google is right! Because France could be a Pandora Box!

    Same question again: Who's France? :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2015 @ 5:46pm

    They don't want an internet at all.

    They still think they can go back to the "good old days" when government corruption, dirty dealings and misuses of power stayed between those involved. The internet is the most powerful tool, for citizens, anyone could ever imagine. Politicians and powerful people want their citizens to be dull and dumb.
    What I have learned through the internet, is that even the best of countries is infected with greed and selfishness where the good being done seems to be a byproduct of this.
    They are trying to contain and stop it, but I seriously hope that it is too late.
    Yes the internet is chaos, and a bit of anarchy and it is just what we need!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Aug 2015 @ 6:14am

    Now I know how we can end the war on drugs.

    Destroy all the maps! When people can't find their drug dealer, they will quit using drugs

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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