The Right To Be Forgotten Essays Example
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The issue at hand is whether personal information should be removed at a person’s request to do so. Recently the European Court of Justice founded in favor of a Spanish man who wanted links to a negative story about him removed from search engines. The Court ruled that citizens have the right to ask for removal of links if the information is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant.” (“Right to be Forgotten”).
What is important in this decision is that the ruling looks to cross international boundaries. The Court is looking to have the links and information removed from all search engines. A link that is removed from the google.co.uk site does not mean the link is removed from all of Google’s other websites such as google.com.
People have the right to request the removal of this type of information from the internet. In the United States there are those who are against this practice because it would infringe on the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The removal of personal information that is not relevant or outdated is not a prevention of exercising free speech. Personal information that is published on the internet can last forever and if it no longer of any importance it should be removed. The case is not citing removing newspaper article or bona fide sources of information. Often there are inappropriate pieces of information posted on websites that have no veracity or relevance.
Other forms of communication such as newspapers and magazines are required to abide laws that govern free speech. Free speech does not include the libelous or slanderous spread of information. If a person commits a crime that is reported in the newspaper, chances are it will be on the internet version of the paper. The information about the arrest is valid and truthful, there is no assumption made about a person’s guilt or innocence. This is within the guidelines of truthful reporting guidelines and standards.
There are websites however, that often post and publish information that may be erroneous or maliciously posted. A private citizen should have the right to remove this type of information. At this time, a person can hire a firm or professional who will clean up their internet profile and character. The article refers to one of these professional, Michael Fertik of Reputation.com. He states that removing irrelevant information is “about privacy and dignity” (“Right to be Forgotten”).
There is a comparison to media websites that feature all types of gossip about celebrities. These sites are not posting information generally about you or your next door neighbor. Hey are covering the very public lives of celebrities. Celebrities have a different set of rules when it comes to what is printed about them in the news. The argument here is for private citizens who may have troubling information posted about them on the internet.
Major corporations work with internet giants like Google to prevent spread of videos and information that features their products. If the newest film from Disney has found its way onto YouTube, Disney can have it removed for copyright infringement. Google and other search engines will gladly remove links to these websites as well. The process for a private citizen to remove information should be as easy and effective.
John Simpson, in his response to the article (“Restore ‘Privacy by Obscurity’”), makes an important point. The article where the person is mentioned will remain on the internet, it is the removal of links that lead to it that need to be removed. This would present searches that lead to an article that the search was not intended to find. Simpson makes and interesting point that in the pre-digital world, if a person made a mistake that was reported, the report does not disappear. In order for a person who is seeking that information intentionally would have to go and look for it in a specific manner. The internet is very different. In order to search a person, you can input a name into a search engine and receive thousands of hits back. Often the searches are erroneous, belonging to other people with the same or similar name.
Rotenberg makes the argument in his response for the right to be forgotten that Google states it is difficult to comply with requests to remove links, especially is they need to be removed from every Google website worldwide. Rotenberg makes the argument that Google prevents people’s personal information and credit card information from being accessed across all of their international websites. He also maintains that just because information is posted on the internet, it is not necessarily true or relevant and search engines have a responsibility (“The Right to Privacy is Global.”).
Worldwide, people have a right to prevent links to websites and information that is not relevant. The right to be forgotten if the right to privacy. The European Court has opened up this quiet problem in their recent ruling which is shedding light and encouraging discussion about the issue. Google and other search engines will have to comply in the European market which will bring this change to American shores as well.
“The Right to be Forgotten.” U.S. News and World Reports. n.d. Web 27 Mar. 2015
Rotenberg, Marc. “The Right to Privacy is Global.” US News and World Reports, 5 Dec. 2014.
Web 27 Mar 2015 http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-there-be-a-right-to-be-
Simpson, John. “Restore ‘Privacy by Obscurity’”. US News and World Reports, 5 Dec. 2014.
Web 27 Mar 2015. http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-there-be-a-right-to-be-
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