The European Union's top court ruled Tuesday Google is not required to remove worldwide links to sensitive personal information.
Observers say the case highlights the need to balance data privacy concerns against the public's right to information.
The EU proposed in 2012 that people deserve the "right to be forgotten" on the internet but the proposal was weakened by the European Parliament last year to ensure internet users the "right to erasure" of specific information. The existing "right to be forgotten" rule remains in force within the European Union.
France's privacy watchdog CNIL fined Google $ 110,000 in 2016 for refusing to remove sensitive information from search results worldwide upon request.
The landmark ruling between the giant American technology company and French privacy regulators was viewed as crucial in determining whether EU regulations should apply beyond Europe's borders.
Google had argued that the removal of the search results required by EU law should not extend to its google.com domain or its other non-EU sites.
The European Court of Justice agreed, saying Tuesday there "is no obligation under EU law for a search engine operator" to extend the rule beyond EU nations. The court also said, however, that a search engine operator must impose new measures to discourage internet users from going outside the EU to find that information.