By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet
ANKARA (AA) – Europe’s top court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Google, upholding its argument that it does not need to remove links to sensitive personal data globally.
The case centered around a dispute whether Google should remove links worldwide known as right to be forgotten or in Europe only, in a case that pits privacy rights against the right of free speech.
The right to be forgotten gives individuals, right to request that personal information be removed from the Internet.
The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) in a statement, said that the "right to be forgotten” applies only in EU countries and not worldwide in Google's search engines.
"Numerous third states do not recognize the right to de-referencing or have a different approach to that right” said the ECJ.
The Court further held that the right to the protection of personal data, is not an absolute right, but must be considered in relation to its function in society and be balanced against other fundamental rights.
It added that the freedom of information of internet users is likely to "vary significantly" around the world.
The ruling of the court is viewed as a victory for Google, as the company had defended that the removal of search results because of the EU laws, should not include its sites outside the Europe.
Google had challenged France’s privacy watchdog, CNIL, which in 2015 told Google to delist information from internet search results globally under the “right to be forgotten”.
CNIL fined Google 100,000 euros ($110,200) because it refused to comply.
"Currently, there is no obligation under EU law, for a search engine operator who grants a request for de-referencing made by a data subject... to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine," the ECJ ruling said.