Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.
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Google does not have to apply the right to be forgotten globally, the European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday.
Europe’s top court had been looking at two separate cases involving the search engine: whether it must remove sensitive personal data worldwide or just in Europe; as well as whether it must automatically delete search results with sensitive information.
The ECJ’s ruling states that Google’s delisting of search results that concerned EU citizens only applies in the bloc’s 28 member states.Â
This follows on an earlier decision on the so-called “right to be forgotten” â a ruling made five years ago that grants European citizens the right to ask search engines, such as Google, to remove sensitive information about them, such as past crimes.
In 2016, France’s privacy watchdog CNIL fined Google 100,000 euros (109,889) for refusing to remove sensitive information from search results on the internet upon request under “right to be forgotten.”
A Google spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.
Tuesday’s ruling comes amid increasing scrutiny of the tech giant from European regulators, with the EU’s antitrust authority cracking down on the company in recent years.
In March, the European Commission fined Google $1.7 billion for abusing its dominance over the digital advertising market, marking the third consecutive year of EU antitrust rulings on the U.S. firm. Among those rulings was a record $5.1 billion fine for anti-competitive practices on Google’s Android devices.
But when it comes to privacy, Google is also facing intensifying pressure from authorities in the United States.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Google-owned YouTube would pay $170 million to settle allegations by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the New York attorney general that it earned millions by illegally collecting data from children without their parents’ consent.
Representatives for the company were also questioned by lawmakers at a Senate hearing on data privacy last year.
Amid the rising scrutiny, the tech giant has been attempting to overhaul its reputation. Back in June, the company unveiled several measures aimed at safeguarding its users’ privacy and data, such as new extensions to allow users better control over their privacy settings and restricting third-party data collection.
Earlier, the company announced it would set up a European hub to handle data privacy. CEO Sundar Pichai said Google planned to have more than 200 privacy engineers working in Munich, Germany, by the end of the year.ï»¿
â CNBC’s Elizabeth Schulze contributed to this article.
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