Google combed home a win today as it battled a French demand that it extend European right to be forgotten laws across the world.
Europe’s top court said that the search giant is not obliged to remove sensitive personal data worldwide.
The case was testing whether laws, introduced by the EU in 2014, could be applied globally.
The rules allow individuals to ask Google to remove references to them from search results. The request must be heard unless there is a free speech or legitimate public interest reason for keeping the results in place.
“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 European Court of Justice said.
But the court reiterated that Google must remove references in European search results.
Google was appealing against a 2016 fine from the French privacy watchdog after the US company did not take down search results globally. It was asked to pay €100,000 (£88,000).
Google said: “Since 2014, we’ve worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people’s rights of access to information and privacy. It’s good to see that the court agreed with our arguments.”