The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has strengthened the rights of EU citizens to delete information from results lists of search engine operators in Europe - but not outside the EU. After the recent decision, search engine providers like Google do not have to apply the right to be forgotten worldwide.

The ruling also states that although Google is not obliged to remove displayed links worldwide from all versions of the service. But the search engine has to carry out a deletion in the EU states and take measures to prevent Internet users from accessing links outside the EU, the ECJ ruled.

In another ruling, the ECJ also stated that the ban on the dissemination of certain personal information also applies to the search engine operators. They would have to ensure, within the limits of their powers and possibilities, that effective protection of affected citizens for respect for their private life could actually be achieved.

The ECJ had already in 2014 strengthened the right to be forgotten on the Internet. At that time, the Luxembourg judges decided that search engine operators would have to delete information from their search results on request if this information violates the personal rights of those affected. However, the geographical scope of the court-granted right to forget beyond EU borders was a matter of dispute. The French Council of State therefore called on the ECJ for a more detailed interpretation of this obligation.