Last month, French data protection agency CNIL ordered Google
to comply with the European "right to be forgotten" order by delisting certain search results not just on the European versions of Google's search engine, but on all versions. Google has now publicly rejected that demand
. CNIL has promised a response, and it's likely the case will go before local courts
. Google says,
This is a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web. While the right to be forgotten may now be the law in Europe, it is not the law globally. Moreover, there are innumerable examples around the world where content that is declared illegal under the laws of one country, would be deemed legal in others: Thailand criminalizes some speech that is critical of its King, Turkey criminalizes some speech that is critical of Ataturk, and Russia outlaws some speech that is deemed to be "gay propaganda." If the CNIL's proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for Internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world's least free place.