There is a reason it is called the World Wide Web: It is supposed to be worldwide, allowing people from all countries to use it for communication, commerce and self-expression. But the French government is trying to create unilateral internet policies that affect those outside French borders, setting up potential conflicts.
In March 2016, French authorities fined Google €100,000 for not expanding France’s “right to be forgotten” rules to all Google users worldwide. Last week, Google announced that it would continue to fight this decision, arguing that sovereign nations should not be able to create their own internet policies. The debate over the right to be forgotten serves as a useful example of why it is time nations adopt a framework for international internet policymaking that balances their own domestic rights with respect for the global nature of the internet.