“Right to be forgotten”

I don’t think individuals should have the ‘right to be forgotten’ on the Net. I believe that everyone is entitled to his/her opinion (even if it is illogical). The very implementation of the ‘right to be forgotten’ law could stifle free speech. And, if the information on the Net about an individual is incorrect, the person concerned can only voice his or her opinion.

I believe that people must try to be more responsible for the data they upload online. Nobody is forced to upload personal information on social networking sites. The ‘right to be forgotten’ would just create a false sense of security online as different people may have unreasonable expectations of privacy. And, no one can really draw the line between privacy and censorship. This law might also take a little responsibility away from individuals because now they have the option of changing their actions later.

(Solove,2008) This article does mention that some of the infamous pictures/information that could go viral are the ones that we are completely unaware of (like the ‘upskirt’ photos or the Burning Man Festival example). But, the solution to this is not implementing the ‘right to be forgotten’ law. Instead, there should be more strict regulations of the law on what is considered ‘private’ and ‘public’.

Additionally, I don’t think that the ‘right to be forgotten’ is realistic. Even if the law is implemented – the Internet has too many ways of storing information and once something has been published online (it can be saved, cached, archived, reposted). Essentially, the article can be replicated in multiple places across the Internet! Sites wouldn’t delete the content – rather the information just won’t be listed in search results. So, removing a source from the Net won’t actually be effective in ‘forgetting’ an incident. The question then becomes a debate about the balance between the ‘right to be forgotten’ and other individuals ‘right to remember’.

A BBC News video uploaded by Jimmy Jones that proves that the ‘right to be forgotten’ law is faulty on being implemented – BBC News, 2014

(Stephens, 2014) Mark Stephens, an English solicitor specializing in media law stated, “Only the powerful will benefit from the right to be forgotten”. I don’t agree with his statement completely but I think that the political and business elites would benefit more with the implementation of this law. The public would want unfettered search results for these individuals but now – potential candidates for election could make only flattering information available to the public. Companies that receive these requests would remove the data rather than face the legal costs of challenging unreasonable requests. This makes it much more easier to exploit the ‘right to be forgotten’ law.

Dan Gillmor’s article written on June 24th, 2014 resonates immensely with me (Gillmor,2014).


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