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Published 3 March 2016
Google has been part of a long running-battle with EU regulators regarding requests to delist search results since the ECJ decision in Google Spain SL and Google Inc v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) and Mario Costeja González (Google Spain). Readers may recall that in Google Spain the CJEU held that Google's failure to allow EU citizen, Costeja's request to have the content of a searchable article about him removed from search results was a breach of European data protection law. The CJEU ordered that Google remove articles on request, unless there was a public interest justification in leaving the articles online.
Google has been complying with requests, but only de-listing European domains. It has not been delisting search results from google.com, for example, presumably arguing that Google in the US is established outside the EEA and therefore not subject to European data protection law. This has been the subject of much criticism across Europe, including from the French data protection authority (the CNIL) and our ICO. In November 2015 the ICO stated that Google should go further to ensure that "links are no longer visible on the European versions of their search engine…and…no longer visible to anyone directly accessing any Google search services from within the UK." It is worth noting, this would include someone accessing google.com from London.
This would follow the approach taken towards the scope of EU data protection law in Weltimmo and to the provisions of the GDPR, where it will be clear that EU data protection law applies to companies outside the EEA, targeting services to EU citizens.
In an article published by the Guardian this February, it has been reported that Google have confirmed that they will "begin blocking search results across all of its domains when a search takes place within Europe" which will act as an extension of Google's implementation of the right to be forgotten principle.
To view the Guardian's article on Google's announcement, please click here.
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