Google case set to examine if EU data rules extend globally

Google is taking its legal fight against an order requiring it to extend "right to be forgotten" rules to its search engines globally to Europe's top court. (AP File Photo)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Google case set to examine if EU data rules extend globally

LONDON: Google is going to Europe's top court in its legal fight against an order requiring it to extend "right to be forgotten" rules to its search engines globally.
The technology giant is set for a showdown at the European Union Court of Justice in Luxembourg on Tuesday with France's data privacy regulator over an order to remove search results worldwide upon request.
The dispute pits data privacy concerns against the public's right to know, while also raising thorny questions about how to enforce differing legal jurisdictions when it comes to the borderless internet.
The two sides will be seeking clarification on a 2015 decision by the French regulator requiring Google to remove results for all its search engines on request, and not just on European country sites like google.fr.
Google declined to comment ahead of the hearing. Its general counsel, Kent Walker, said in a blog post in November that complying with the order "would encourage other countries, including less democratic regimes, to try to impose their values on citizens in the rest of the world."
"These cases represent a serious assault on the public's right to access lawful information," he added.
In an unusual move, the court has allowed a collection of press freedom, free speech and civil rights groups to submit their opinions on the case. These groups agree with Google that forcing internet companies to remove website links threatens access to information and could pave the way for censorship by more authoritarian regimes such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The court's ruling is expected within months. It will be preceded by an opinion from the court's advocate general.
The case stems from a landmark 2014 Court of Justice ruling that people have the right to control what appears when their name is searched online. That decision forced Google to delete links to outdated or embarrassing personal information that popped up in searches of their names.
Authorities are now starting to worry about the risk that internet users can easily turn to proxy servers and virtual private networks to spoof their location, allowing them to dig up the blocked search results.
Google said in its most recent transparency report that it has received requests to delete about 2.74 million web links since the ruling, and has deleted about 44 percent of them.
Not all requests are waved through. In a related case that will also be heard Tuesday, the EU court will be asked to weigh in on a request by four people in France who want their search results to be purged of any information about their political beliefs and criminal records, without taking into account public interest. Google had rejected their request, which was ultimately referred to the ECJ.


CNN awaits judge’s decision on White House ban on reporter

Updated 15 November 2018
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CNN awaits judge’s decision on White House ban on reporter

WASHINGTON: A US federal judge was poised to rule Thursday on a lawsuit brought by CNN with broad backing from other US media to compel the White House to lift a ban imposed on a reporter after he engaged US President Donald Trump in a heated exchange at a news conference.
CNN lawyers argued in court Wednesday that the White House violated correspondent Jim Acosta’s First Amendment right to free speech in revoking his credentials, and asked the court to order that they be reinstated.
The US Justice Department’s lawyer, James Burnham, countered that Acosta had “disrupted” last week’s news conference. Burnham insisted “there is no First Amendment right to access the White House.”
Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, said he would hand down a decision at 3:00 p.m. (1500) GMT.
Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, angered Trump when he persisted in questioning the president at a November 7 news conference, ignoring demands he yield the microphone.
From the podium, Trump called Acosta — a frequent target of his ire — a “rude, terrible person.”
Hours later the White House revoked Acosta’s security pass, initially accusing him of “placing his hands” on a female press aide who tried to take the microphone away.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders released a video to support the claim, but analysts said the footage was sped up to make it appear Acosta had manhandled the aide.
CNN’s suit, which the White House dismissed as “grandstanding,” drew support from major US news organizations, including Fox News, the Rupert Murdoch-owned television news network known for its friendly coverage of Trump and other conservatives.
In a “friend of court” brief, the White House Correspondents Association urged the court to find in favor of CNN, warning that to do otherwise would set a dangerous legal precedent.
“The White House is the People’s House, and the First Amendment does not permit the President to pick and choose which journalist do — and do not — cover him there.”
Others backing the CNN arguments in court included the Associated Press, Bloomberg, First Look Media Works, Gannett, the National Press Club Journalism Institute, NBC News, The New York Times, Politico, Press Freedom Defense Fund, EW Scripps Company, USA Today and The Washington Post.