France rejects Google's 'right to be forgotten' appeal

France has upheld a decision against Google that recognises internet users' 'right to be forgotten'.

France's data protection watchdog has rejected an appeal by Google against a decision ordering the internet giant to comply with users' requests to have information about them removed from all search results.

Since a European Court of Justice ruling in May 2014 recognising the "right to be forgotten" on the net, Google users can ask the search engine to remove results about them that are no longer relevant.

However, Google ran into trouble in France over the fact that while it removes these references from its results in searches made in or other European extensions, it refuses to do so on and elsewhere.

"This strips away the effectiveness of this law, and varies the rights granted to persons according to the internet user who consults the search engine, rather than the person concerned," the data watchdog CNIL said.

Google made no comment when contacted by AFP.

In June, CNIL [Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés] ordered Google to respect the right to be forgotten in all search results, after receiving hundreds of complaints from individuals.

However, Google refused to comply and in July appealed the decision, arguing that CNIL was not competent "to control" information accessed across the globe.

If the internet giant continues to avoid compliance with the law, it faces a fine of up to €150,000 (AU$285,500).

"Since the informal appeal has been rejected, the company must now comply with the formal notice," CNIL said. "Otherwise, the President of the CNIL may designate a Rapporteur who may refer to the CNIL's sanctions committee with a view of obtaining a ruling on this matter."

Google previously said that it does not believe in the CNIL's conviction that right to be forgotten requests should apply across the globe.

"We believe that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access. We also believe this order is disproportionate and unnecessary, given that the overwhelming majority of French internet users -- currently around 97 percent -- access a European version of Google's search engine like, rather than or any other version of Google," Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, wrote on the company's European blog in August.

In November, Google's France arm was hit with a €1,000 per day fine for not removing an article regarded as defamatory.

Google has a history of legal woes in Europe where concerns are high over its use of private data.

In France the US giant was fined €150,000 in 2014 for failing to comply with CNIL privacy guidelines for personal data.

As of July this year, Google had been asked to remove one million links and has agreed to remove almost 60 percent of them.

The search company accidentally revealed in its July transparency report that only 5 percent of delinking requests come from public figures, while the other 95 percent are from individuals.

With AAP