EU wants to widen “right to be forgotten”

thanks-for-the-memory-movie-poster-1938-1020198195European privacy regulators want Internet search engines such as Google and Microsoft’s Bing (MSFT.O) to scrub results globally, not just in Europe, when people invoke their “right to be forgotten”.

The European Union’s privacy watchdogs agreed on a set of guidelines on Wednesday to help them implement a ruling from Europe’s Supreme Court that gives people the right to ask search engines to remove personal information that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”.

Google has been scrubbing results only from the European versions of its website such as in Germany or in France, but they still appear on

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, the head of France’s privacy watchdog and the Article 29 Working Party of EU national data protection authorities, told a news conference that from the legal and technical analysis we are doing, they should include the ‘.com’.

Google said the company had not yet seen the guidelines but would “study them carefully” when they are published.

Google has previously said that search results should be removed only from its European versions since Google automatically redirects people to the local versions of its search engine.

However some feel that Google’s current approach waters down the effectiveness of the court ruling, given how easy it is to switch between different national versions.

The search engine has problems in Europe. Google is facing multiple investigations into its privacy policy and is bogged down in a four year EU antitrust inquiry.

The EU ruling has pitted privacy advocates against free speech campaigners, who say allowing people to ask search engines to remove information would lead to a whitewashing of the past.