EU regulators want Google listings deleted through so-called right to be forgotten requests to extend to the search giant’s .com top-level domain. At present, listings vanish only from Google TLDs in Europe, such as .eu and .co.UK.
The new rules, adopted Tuesday by the European Union’s Article 29 working party, which represents national privacy regulators from member states, lay out guidelines that would extend the impact of “right to be forgotten” requests to Google’s U.S. search site.
The guidelines also apply to other search engines available in Europe, including Microsoft’s Bing.com search engine, which also powers searches made through Yahoo.com.
“Limiting de-listing to EU domains on the grounds that users tend to access search engines via their national domains cannot be considered a sufficient means to satisfactorily guarantee the rights of data subjects according to the ruling,” said the European Commission’s Justice division, in a statement.
“In practice, this means that in any case de-listing should also be effective on all relevant .com domains.”
Europe adopted “right to be forgotten” policies in the wake of a March court ruling in favor of Spanish citizen Mario Costeja, who sued Google over his potentially damaging tax information that was present on the search engine.
The European Union’s move leaves it open to charges that it’s looking to extend the impact of its ruling to regions beyond its own jurisdiction. It wouldn’t be the first time. After an EU competition probe, Microsoft was forced to add a so-called Browser Choice Screen to Windows 7 to make it easier for PC users to select alternatives to Internet Explorer.
Microsoft failed to include the screen in Windows 7 Service Pack 1, which dropped in May of 2011, and was fined $732 million by EU regulators.
Google to date has received more than 174,000 removal requests, according to its Transparency Report. Representatives for Google and Microsoft were not immediately available for comment.