EU law is world law


Sounds like Google could get around this by licensing Play/Services for like $20 a phone, and then paying manufacturers $19 a phone to pre-install Search and Chrome. As long as the two deals aren’t explicitly linked, I don’t see how regulators could have a problem with that, and I suspect it would leave the market more or less like it is now.


Hmm…I think this development is likely relevant to this thread:

Google Case Asks: Can Europe Export Privacy Rules World-Wide?

Company to argue against expanding ‘right to be forgotten’ in the highest-profile case yet on who regulates data world-wide

Google on Tuesday will appeal an order to extend the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” to its search engines across the globe, arguing before the EU’s top court that the order encourages countries to assert sovereignty beyond their borders.

National laws used to stop at the border. In cyberspace, they increasingly stretch around the world, as regulators in Europe, the U.S. and Canada have started asserting legal authority over the internet across country lines.


That’s a really interesting question. It’s a person’s data subject to laws because of his/her nationality, because of the location of the company storing the data, or because of the location of the system using the data?

You would think it should be subservient to where the data is located and where the data is acquired (since when acquiring the data you have to accept the rules and limits placed to that acquisition). But it’s not simple.

Ultimately any nation can create rules for companies willing to operate in them. The US and the EU have several money-laundering (or “do not work with companies funding terrorism in other countries”) rules, that do assert national sovereignty over actions abroad. If you work with certain companies or individuals you can’t operate in the US or the EU (unless you can mask that relationship). So it’s not really uncharted territory, but much more wide ranging.


I wonder if there is a point where Google will just treat the EU like China, and stop operating there (or only offer a very restricted set of services). That would make EU regulators happy, I think.


Abandon a third of their revenue? Seems unlikely.


This is less about “The Right to be Forgotten” and more about the future; to wit, the EU (Specifically Germany and to a lesser extent France’s take, but now the UK is getting into the mix…but they are Brexitting…) on Speech protections and the US view (1st Amendment) are due for a clash, that could force companies to choose between (using the statistical example above for Alphabet) this example’s 33%(EU) and 47% (US). Ultimately, the question is how/when the EU will fold (somewhat) and Germany/France will have to bend for the rest of the Union’s sake?


Practically speaking though, why can’t Google provide a different service in the EU from the one in the USA?


That’s what they do now-- the EU wants them to stop.

Google doesn’t show information that is censored by the EU’s “Right to be Forgotten” to customers in the EU. The EU is insisting that Google make this information unavailable to anyone in the world.

If history is a guide, the EU court will reject Google’s argument. Sure, censorship other government would want to impose might be bad, but that has no relevance for what the EU is doing, which is by definition good. Doing a good thing can’t possibly set a precedent for doing a bad thing.


France wants them to stop. The ECJ will decide whether they should.


Germany doesn’t bend, it breaks, chaotically. France, on the other hand, bends itself up both their asses.

On a less euro-political angle, France is being impractical and callous, although I appreciate the intent.


Could Google respond by setting up a different company, aka EuroGoogle, that only operates in Europe?


How does this stuff work with news for instance? Suppose something is prohibited from being printed in France, state secret or some such, and a US company with presence in France publishes it in the US. WTH happens then?


I’m not so sure.


At the moment, nothing. And it should be noted that the “right to be forgotten” doesn’t apply to news stories themselves, only search results. But, yes, it’s an open question as to what happens on eg defamation or hate speech if the extraterritorial principle gets adopted in the privacy sphere. On the other hand, privacy is a European right whereas as far as I’m aware the others are national in scope. State secrets obviously are.


Extreme examples, but some things that, would qualify as hate speech in European countries would solidly have free speech protections in the US. And the backlash of extraterritoriality forcing Free Speech restrictions in violation of the First Amendment to US-hosted data would be deafening and heard on both sides of the ocean.

As well, to use not extreme examples (Hate Speech definitions), what if it was a website of, of, “Shitty companies that cheat you”, and the French Company demanded to be “forgotten”, and so Google ordered a takedown of that data run by a guy in Chicago (where the data was hosted)? This stuff gets tricky. And I don’t see all the EU members risking so much for the sake of one or two members, in the long run.


That’s not how it works.


From the article:

The Google dispute before the EU’s Court of Justice in Luxembourg is the highest-profile case yet to test where jurisdiction begins and ends when it comes to data. Google is appealing a 2015 order from France’s privacy regulator, CNIL, to extend the EU’s “right to be forgotten” to all of its websites, no matter where they are accessed. CNIL fined Google 100,000 euros ($116,295) when it didn’t comply.

France argues that the right—which allows individuals to request removal of results that include personal information from searches for their own names—is empty if it can be dodged by spoofing one’s location, for instance by connecting to a VPN. Google, a unit ofAlphabet Inc., GOOGL -0.21% says France’s demand risks allowing the censorship laws of dictators and tyrants to dictate what people around the world can see online.

This fairly unprecedented extraterritoriality concept will eventually not fly, and the EU will back down. If not this year or this case, eventually.


Maybe, but the point is the right, however extraterritorial it ends up being, doesn’t extend to the underlying data, only to search results. Even if the ECJ rules against Google tomorrow, it won’t lead to a takedown of data hosted by a guy in Chicago. At most it will result in Google deindexing his site. And even then, only after Google has conducted a public interest balancing test.

And once again, it’s not the EU pushing this extraterritoriality, it’s France, The original ECJ ruling on the right to be forgotten only applies to users of Google in the EU.


It really depends on the incentives. US Companies spend a lot of money maintaining the technology to meet EU standards for personal data management because, if they don’t, they can’t do business in the EU. Try running an airline if you aren’t allowed to enter passenger data into your system because you don’t offer the protections required under EU law.


Absolutely, but that is a compliance issue, a gateway to do business there, not one that directly impacts other nations’ citizens and users. It’s an extension of “If your planes fly here they need these widgets, to this standard”. An extension of commonly used trade precedents.

There is some fuzziness. My point is merely that unless this is ameliorated it is going to get ugly, and in a popular sense. Not just a corporate one. I see eye to eye with Alphabet on very little, likely. The average joe certainly does. But on this issue. Its tricky…