Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The European Court of Justice decided Tuesday that Google must delist search results containing potentially sensitive personal information in all states of the European Union -- but it doesn't have to make those changes worldwide.
The EU's "right to be forgotten" rule -- which allows residents to ask search engines to delete sensitive information, including past crimes -- is only applicable to the 28-state alliance.
"The court concludes that, currently, there is no obligation under EU law for a search engine operator who grants a request for de-referencing ... to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine," the court said in its ruling.
The ECJ said delistings, however, must also come with measures that prevent or discourage an Internet user to search for scrubbed information outside the union.
The court, which acts as the supreme court for EU laws, had been reviewing two cases on the issue.
Google applauded Tuesday's ruling.
"Since 2014, we've worked hard to implement the 'right to be forgotten' in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people's rights of access to information and privacy," Peter Fleischer, senior privacy counsel at Google, told CNBC.
"It's good to see that the court agreed with our arguments, and we're grateful to the independent human rights organizations, media associations and many others around the world who also presented their views to the court."
The ECJ first ruled for the "right to be forgotten" standard in 2014, allowing EU residents to force search engines to delist web pages and searches under certain circumstances. Since then, Google has received more than 845,000 requests to delete more than 3.3 million web addresses. Forty-five percent of those were ultimately delisted.