Google doesn’t need to guarantee the “right to be forgotten” to users outside of the European Union, an advisor to the EU’s top court said Thursday.
The written opinion by an advocate general in the European Court of Justice is an important step in the question of how much tech companies like Google must apply Europe’s strict privacy laws to operations in other parts of the world.
The “right to be forgotten” is a part of an EU law established in 2014 that requires search engines to delete personal information about users if it’s deemed irrelevant or excessive.
For example, an individual can ask Google to remove links including personal contact information. The decision to remove a link is weighed against factors such as the individual’s role in public life. Since 2014, Google has received nearly 3 million requests to “delist” web addresses from users across Europe.
In a written opinion on Thursday, Advocate General Maciej Szpunar said he is “not in favor of giving the provisions of EU law such a broad interpretation that they would have effects beyond the borders of the 28 Member States.”
“The opinion contains a clear recommendation that the right to remove search results from Google should not have global effect,” said Richard Cumbley, the partner and global head of technology at London-based law firm Linklaters, in an email to CNBC.
“There are a number of good reasons for this, including the risk other states would also try and suppress search results on a global basis.”
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