Europeans have the right to be forgotten, but only on one continent.
The Internet is forever, we tell social media users: be careful what you put online, because you can’t ever take it back off. And while that’s gospel for US users, there’s some nuance to that dictum across the Atlantic. In Europe, individuals have a right to be forgotten and can request that information about themselves be taken down—but only, a court has now ruled, within Europe.
The Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court, issued a ruling today finding that there is no obligation under EU law for a search service to carry out a valid European de-listing request globally.
“EU law requires a search engine operator to carry out such a de-referencing on the versions of its search engine corresponding to all the Member States,” the Court wrote in a statement (PDF), “and to take sufficiently effective measures to ensure the effective protection of the data subject’s fundamental rights.”
“Since 2014, we’ve worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people’s rights of access to information and privacy,” Google said in a statement. “It’s good to see that the court agreed with our arguments.”