Emerging Markets Law

Google to Honor EU Privacy Requests Globally

In a huge concession, Google has agreed to apply globally the "right to be forgotten" take-down requests of EU residents. Officially, Google says the 2014 EU privacy requirement should apply only to EU-directed services such as country-specific search pages. However, in a nod to the EU's position that privacy should be globally applied, Google has stepped back from the fight about scrubbing its main site and other non-EU-specific services.

Blocking search results globally means that Google is setting a big precedent for other companies who deal with the EU and its multiple layers of privacy concerns. Although the "right to be forgotten" may not be as big an implementation problem for other companies as it is for the search industry, this still signals that privacy compliance might have to be done on a global scale in order to be effective in a targeted jurisdiction. 

Right now, as the United States and EU are on the brink of releasing new data transfer rules under the Privacy Shield that will govern US treatment of EU personal data, Google's move is especially noteworthy. It's a very high profile win for the EU in the privacy sphere, and will lend heft to any arguments it makes about strict privacy controls for EU citizens' data in the hands of US corporations. 

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