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FLIP intervenes in case of freedom of expression on the internet in France

On October 26, 2016, the Foundation for Freedom of the Press –FLIP– present an intervention in the process that is being carry out between the National Commission for Informatic and Liberty (CNIL) of France and Google. The case, which is being study by the Council of State of France, arise from a sanction by the CNIL on Google France for the way in which the “right to be forgot” decision are being apply by this company in said country.

The “right to be forgot” request arise from a decision of the European Court of Justice issue in 2014, know as Google Spain, SL and Google Inc. vs. Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) and Mario Cotija González (also know as “ Cotija Case”). According to said ruling, Internet search engine – such as Google – that have activity in the European Union are oblige to unlink the name of people on certain link in search result, upon request. According to that decision, inappropriate, irrelevant, or excessive information must be disassociate and the role play by that person in public life must be evaluate derecho al olvido.

Search Engine

In accordance with said ruling Internet search engine – such as Google. That have activity in the European Union may be oblige. In certain case, to eliminate from their result. Link to web page that are link to the name of a person. People can directly request the search engines to remove the results. And in case the search engines deny the request they can go to the relevant authorities to resolve the case. 

According to the European Court of Justice inappropriate irrelevant or excessive information. Must be disassociate and the role play by that person in public life must be evaluate. This decision is complicate for freedom of expression since among other thing. It place decision on fundamental right in the hand of a private company. The Colombian Constitutional Court concluded last year that a decision like the one made by the European Court. Of Justice would be against freedom of expression.

Certain Information

Google has comply with these decision by unlinking the link in each country in which the respective request are made. That is if person A requests that their name not be link to a certain link in France. If the request is grant the content would stop appearing in search in that country. But would continue to appear in the rest of the world. For its part the CNIL considers that the disengagement of the links should apply in other countries. Not only in France sharenting que es.

FLIP’s Intervention defend Google’s position, since this would go against the decentralize nature of the Internet. This mean that the Internet is a network that does not have a central point. Or a focus where all information or decision are focus. By agreeing to the position of the CNIL France would become a central point. That can decide that certain information is not know anywhere in the world.

Certain Content

On the other hand, the CNIL’s position is also against principles of international law. Such as the sovereignty of States and the principle of pact sent Servando. The first is that each country is free to govern itself. This includes the ways in which limitations on freedom of expression are endorse or reject. This principle would be violate since France would decide that certain content cannot be seen in other country. That have a different way of conceiving the “right to be forgot” or that do not recognize such a right. 

On the other hand in application of the pact sent Servando principle. State are only oblige to comply with international treat to which they are a party. This principle would be violate since country that are not part of the European Union. The main interest of FLIP in this case is to ensure that decision contrary to the exercise of freedom of expression on the Internet are not present mario costeja gonzález.

Right to Freedom

Which recognize both by the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR and by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression of the UN as a democratizing space and multiplier of right. State are oblige not to take decision against this fundamental nature of the Internet.

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