Information Privacy

The EU’s “right to be forgotten” ruling requires all non-media companies (like Google)to remove data that is no longer adequate or relevant in an attempt to protect individuals with the right of privacy. This ruling does not apply to media companies with journalistic motivations, such as newspapers, as these companies are protected by the EU under the European data protection law. In the United States, the “right to be forgotten” legislation is currently being debated. NPR panelists in favor of the rule propose that the “right to be forgotten” ruling is a fair balance between free speech and protection of individual privacy in a society today where a person’s personal information can be easily accessed and searched by third parties. On the other hand, those opposed to the “right to be forgotten” argue that the ruling sets a precedent for censorship that does not have a place in a democratic society.

I believe the right to privacy holds more weight than free speech when it comes to the effects it can have on the individual, though these two values should certainly be as well balanced as possible in legislation. However, in the case where there must be a choice to make in deciding which right outweighs the other in importance, I propose for the upholding of the right to privacy for an individual. I think the United States should enact a legislation that is similar to the “right to be forgotten” ruling, as we live in such a interconnected, and often intrusive, digitally driven society. We need to be mindful of how individuals can be protected from an ever growing technologically dependent world.