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The “right to be forgotten” refers to the right of individuals to have a company remove or delete their personal data when the company has no apparent justification for continuing to keep it. The “right to be forgotten” was established by the European Court of Justice in 2014, when it ruled that individuals had the right to request the removal of links to either irrelevant or outdated materials. Over half a million requests for link removals have occurred since the ruling, of which Google acquiesced to nearly half.
Earlier this year, the High Court of Great Britain ruled against Google in a landmark court case, and sided in favor of advocates for the right to be forgotten, ruling that Google had to comply with a businessman who requested his previous criminal record of a sentence served over a decade previously be removed from the search engine.
Currently Google is again before the European Court of Justice, seeking to win a case against a French data protection authority. The data protection authority argues with the support of both the French and Austrian governments, that the right to be forgotten should apply worldwide. Google is joined by various media companies to combat this approach, and the decision will undoubtedly have significant implications for search engines and social media giants including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Twitter. The issue poses tough questions for how to balance individual rights to privacy, with the public right to information.
Professors Jane Roberta Bambauer, and Meg Leta Jones, join us to discuss and debate this controversial issue, and predict what it may mean for global corporations moving forward.
Prof. Meg Leta Jones, Assistant Professor of Communication, Culture & Technology, Georgetown University
Prof. Jane Bambauer, Professor of Law, James E Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona
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