(Bloomberg) - Google won a European Union court battle against plans to impose a global “right to be forgotten” in the latest landmark ruling over where to draw the line between privacy and freedom of speech.
The EU Court of Justice on Tuesday said search engines should remove results on European versions of its websites. Five years earlier the same tribunal forced the U.S. tech giant to remove European links to websites that contain out of date or false information that could unfairly harm a person’s reputation.
The Alphabet Inc. unit challenged the French privacy authority’s order to extend the scope to all of its platforms across the world. The court said there is “no obligation under EU law” for links to be removed from all versions of its search engine. In a related ruling on how far Google could cite the public interest to refuse to pull links, judges said the search engine must weigh privacy concerns against users’ right to know in each individual case.
Google had argued that such decisions push the internet into dangerous waters. The 2014 judgment already forces it to offer up different search results in Europe than in other regions. The search-engine giant and its supporters, including press freedom groups, have warned that internet freedom would be brushed aside if less democratic parts of the world embraced the same policy.