EU Proposes 'Right To Be Forgotten' Online, In Contradiction With Free Speech Concepts

from the which-is-more-important? dept

As a bunch of folks have sent in, there's a proposal making the rounds in the EU for a "right to be forgotten," which would require websites to delete all information about a person at their request. We've actually seen something like this in the past, in Germany, where last year we noted that a convicted German murderer, was using such a law to demand details of his conviction be removed from various websites. It's not difficult to recognize how problematic this concept can be. As Adam Thierer notes, a "right to be forgotten," is a clear restriction on free speech.

Now, some might claim that this is a point where free speech and privacy rights clash, but I'm not sure I actually agree with that. In fact, I'd argue that a "right to be forgotten" is not really a "privacy" right in the first place. A privacy right should only concern information that is actually private. What a "right to be forgotten" does is try to take information that is, by default, public information, and pretend that it's private. That's a very different situation, and one that clearly conflicts with free speech concepts.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2010 @ 4:07pm

    I think laws are unnecessary for that.

    Besides this is not how the network works, every node that has that information would need to be wiped clean, are those people willing to go after every single instance of some information?

    That is just ridiculous, as no government in the world or company or person have the man power, financial resources or power to do so.

    Brazil I know have a law like that and it doesn't work, they also have inside the constitution the words "It is forbidden to be anonymous" LoL no I'm not joking. Now look at how those things work there and you will see why is not a good idea, those type of laws are used to curb free speech and threaten political, administrative transparency everywhere.

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