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Google wins EU court case on reach of ‘right to be forgotten’ laws

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BRUSSELS — Google won a major case in the European Union on Tuesday, when the bloc’s top court ruled that the U.S. internet giant doesn’t have to extend the EU’s “right to be forgotten” rules to its search engines outside the region.Story continues belowThe case stems from a 2014 ruling that said people have the right to control what appears when their name is searched online. They can ask Google, for example, to remove a link. The French privacy regulator then wanted that rule applied to all of Google’s domains, even outside the EU, and asked the EU’s top court for advice.The European Court of Justice said Tuesday that there “is no obligation under EU law for a search engine operator” to extend the rule beyond the EU states.READ MORE: Canada lags as Britain moves to give citizens more control over personal dataIt said, however, that a search engine operator must put measures in place to discourage internet users from going outside the EU to find that information.The decision, which matches a preliminary opinion in January from the court’s adviser, highlights the need to balance data privacy and protection concerns against the public’s right to information. It also raises questions about how to enforce differing jurisdictions when it comes to the borderless internet.In a reaction to the ruling, Google’s Senior Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer said “it’s good to see that the Court agreed with our arguments” and added that Google had worked hard “to strike a sensible balance between people’s rights of access to information and privacy.”The European Commission noted that the court again confirmed that the “right to be forgotten” exists in the EU.The 2014 ruling that people in the EU have the right to control what appears when their name is searched online forced Google to delete links to outdated or embarrassing personal information that popped up in searches within the 28-nation bloc.WATCH: Google debuts privacy controls, virtual assistant speed at developers’ conference

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