Brooklyn Journal of International Law

First Page



In May 2014, the European Court of Justice decided Google Spain v. AEPD and González and granted citizens the right to be forgotten, rather, the right to request any search engine offering services to European consumers to remove certain results displayed after a search of a citizen’s name. This decision has also resulted in an ongoing battle between Google and the Commission Nationale de l’Infomatique et des Libertés (CNIL), France’s data protection authority. The CNIL believes that Google must apply the right to be forgotten to all domains worldwide, including Google.com. Google, however, has been reluctant to do so, given the lack of a worldwide right to be forgotten, as well as the strong free speech protections that exist in the United States. This Note examines the Internet’s powerful impact on contemporary culture in order to demonstrate the need for a compromise between the CNIL’s demands while maintaining the United States’ most foundational tenants. After doing such, this Note proposes a workable two-part solution that places crucial limits on the right to be forgotten so that it may properly exist in both the EU and the United States. First, European and U.S. citizens of all ages must be adequately educated on Internet responsibility. Second, the EU and the United States must implement a bilateral treaty that will cease the battle between Google and the CNIL. Ultimately, this solution harmonizes the European right to be forgotten with U.S. rights to freedom of speech and privacy by providing a fair and balanced test, where priority is given when a public or individual interest is compelling.