Google will not have to apply Europe’s “right to be forgotten” law globally, the continent’s top court ruled on Tuesday in a landmark case that has pitted personal privacy rights against freedom of speech.
The victory for the U.S. tech titan means that, while it must remove links to sensitive personal data from its internet search results in Europe when required; it does not have to scrap them from searches elsewhere in the world.
The case has been viewed as a landmark test, in an age of an internet that knows no borders, of whether people can demand a blanket removal of information about themselves from searches without stifling free speech and legitimate public interest.
The right to be forgotten was enshrined by the same European court in 2014 when it ruled that people could ask search engines like Google to remove inadequate or irrelevant information from web results appearing under searches for their names.
Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., says it has since received 845,501 requests to remove links, and removed 45% of the 3.3 million links it was asked to scrap.