Search engine Google has decided to incur the wrath of the EU and only remove search results from European websites when individuals invoke their “right to be forgotten”, contrary to regulators’ guidelines.
The company’s chief legal officer David Drummond said that Google is reviewing that policy but it has not changed since November.
“We’ve had a basic approach, we’ve followed it, on this question we’ve made removals Europe-wide but not beyond,” he said.
Google has consistently argued that it believes the ruling should only apply to its European websites, such as Google.de in Germany or Google.fr in France.
However, privacy watchdogs from EU countries, the Article 29 Working Party, concluded in November that they want search engines to scrub results globally because it is easy to swap from Google.co.uk to Google.com.
Google feels that there has to be limits to the rules because it really is a European concept. In the US, it is considered OK to libel someone and then have the smear hang around for decades.
Since the ruling in May, Google has received more than 200,000 requests from across Europe affecting over 700,000 URLs, according to its online transparency report.
Citizens whose removal requests have been refused by a search engine can appeal to their national data protection regulator, who can then take action against the company.