Google just got a huge European legal boost. Maciej Szpunar, an adviser to the European Union’s top court, argued that search companies like Google should not have to enforce the “right to be forgotten” globally.
For years, Google has been fighting an order from a French regulator, which tried to force the company to follow the law beyond European borders. The legal framework demands that internet companies purge search results about people’s personal information. France argued that allowing results to remain in other locations made the law ineffective. Google and other technology advocates rebutted that allowing the law’s scope to expand globally would allow repressive regimes to essentially erase all dissenting online content about them around the world.
The EU adviser generally agreed with Google. Szpunar, writes the Wall Street Journal, argued that “if the EU ordered removal of content from websites accessed outside the EU, there was a danger that other jurisdictions would use their laws to block information from being accessible within the EU.” Which is to say, that the law could be used to suppress information beyond borders.
Szpunar’s opinion was nonbinding, so it’s not assured that the court will rule in Google’s favor. But this is certainly a big win for the company because it shows European legal authorities advocating on behalf of its argument. The official decision will be made by the EU’s Court of Justice in Luxembourg in the coming months.