WASHINGTON (July 30, 2015) – The R Street Institute applauded today’s request by Google Inc. to the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) of France to withdraw its formal order that Google remove links that mention European Union citizens who have invoked a “right to be forgotten” from all Google websites worldwide.

The French agency in June ordered Google to take down the links in response to individual citizens’ requests, setting a precedent with which would be prohibitively expensive for content companies to comply. While Google has removed links from EU-facing websites in accordance with its interpretation of a 2014 decision by the EU Court of Justice, it is challenging the French demand that it must do so for all Google sites globally.

“Google is doing the right thing by challenging this ruling,” said Mike Godwin, director of innovation policy at R Street.  “Advocates around the world who support freedom of inquiry and oppose needless censorship have been hoping that Google would continue to challenge the broad, potentially unlimited scope of the right to be forgotten, both within the EU and worldwide.”

Godwin noted that other, less-established companies would not have the resources to comply with the potentially millions of requests that could be generated by the rule.

“For smaller startup companies, it’s easiest just to remove links or other content in response to every demand. It’s easy to see how this default impulse will hurt freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry on the Internet in the long run,” said Godwin.”

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