In Europe, Google must remove links to inaccurate or outdated information from its search engine, after the EU government ruled people fundamentally have a 'Right To Be Forgotten' on the internet.
Yet Google doesn't like this - it creates work and reduces profitability. In an effort to resist being accountable Google has so far been removing such links only from the local site for each country, such as google.fr or google.co.uk.
Google.com has retained all links, a typically Googley way of holding itself unaccountable by mere legal systems. So while links are removed from local versions of the search engine they remain, forever, on the global version.
A French court begs to differ with this practice, as last November it ruled that removing links from google.fr was insufficient, and ordered Google to remove the links worldwide or face sanctions.
But Google simply ignored the ruling.
This has finally caught up to the search giant as French data protection regulator CNIL has given the company 15 days to comply before imposing financial penalties.
CNIL said for over a year Google has ignored its request to remove links worldwide, making it in breach of the ruling. While the threat exists, it hardly sounds urgent.
According to CNIL:
If Google Inc does not comply with the formal notice within the fifteen days the President will be in position to nominate a Rapporteur to draft a report recommending to the CNIL Select Committee (the Committee in charge of imposing sanctions in case of violation of the French data protection law) to impose a sanction to the company.
So in typical EU fashion, a violation of one agency's order will lead to the matter being referred to another body who may, then, be able to refer it to a third body which could, possibly, level sanctions.
Its clear why Google is playing chicken - it will be some time before anything happens and it can always just decide to comply with the ruling.
In the meantime, it remains above the law.