15 November 2017

IAPA cautions about applying ''Right to be Forgotten'' rule at global level


MIAMI, Florida (Nov. 15, 2017) — The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today supported Google's case pending at a European court that it not be obliged to remove objectionable content worldwide in addition to sites in specific countries.

The Court of Justice of the European Union is set to review a dispute between the U.S.-based Internet search giant and the National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL in the French acronym), which is authorized to apply laws on privacy of data in France.

CNIL seeks that Google, when so ordered, be required to remove content or links in all of its world sites, not only in the country where the petition originated or in those of the European Union where the same legislation exists.

"The application of the French (CNIL) criterion could induce countries with repressive and autocratic regimes to seek to impose at the international level the restrictions and censorship that they apply in their national jurisdiction,'' the IAPA cautioned in a letter sent this week to the European court.

The CNIL had fined Google for not removing or erasing contents outside of France. Google, which does remove contents and links in European Union sites but declines to do so in other parts of the world, appealed the ruling to the French Council of State.

In July the Council sent the dispute to the European Court for its interpretation. The Court is tasked with deciding whether the search engine may be obliged to withdraw content and links on a global scale at the petitions of European authorities.

In Oct. 2016, the IAPA wrote to CNIL President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotinn that global removal ''is a disproportionate and excessive measure since the interpretation and jurisprudence that exist on the right to privacy and the attributes of freedom of expression and of the press have marked differences in various countries....

''The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, as well as similar constitutional criteria in many Latin American countries, would not permit what France asks Google for, due to the fact that they would infringe their own laws."

Signing were IAPA president Gustavo Mohme, owner and publisher of the Peruvian newspaper La República; Roberto Rock, chairman of IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and director of the Mexican portal La Silla Rota; and Carlos Jornet of IAPA's Right to Oblivion Sub-Committee and editor of the Argentine newspaper La Voz del Interior.

They warned that "freedom of expression will not be able to survive on the Internet if the laws of each nation are applied to all Web sites."

The full text of the letter to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) .

The IAPA is an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of expression in the Americas. Based in Miami, Florida it is comprised of several hundred newspapers, TV and radio stations, and digital media.