Is it our right to be forgotten?

EU’s “right to be forgotten” and its benefits

EU’s “right to be forgotten”

What is the EU right to be forgotten? Well, when there is outdated information or information you don’t want to be seen online, there currently isn’t a way to remove that from search queries on Google. This is when “right to be forgotten” come sin — it gives the person a chance to have that information deleted.

They are required to apply to Google and ask the information to be taken down, in return, Google will weigh its choices and determine whether or not to remove it based on that. Other smaller search companies who don’t have operations in Europe, though, are not required to follow this.

Someone who wants information about them taken out of the index will have to apply to Google, which will then have to weigh up whether it is in the public interest for that information to remain. (Source: TheGuardian)

For or against?

In favor — In the debate between NPR panelists, the panelists in favor or adopting a similar legislation in the USA mentioned that like EU, people should be allowed to have control over their own data. Not only that, but the “right to be forgotten” creates a society where everybody has the right to privacy and human dignity. With technology improving every day, the internet makes it really hard for people to hide their pasts, and this gives a chance for people to move on from the past.

Against — On the other hand, a similar legislation in USA would result in restricted freedom of expression as well as freedom of information. By removing data, expression and information would no longer be completely accurate. Also, deciding what a user can and cannot see is essentially censorship, which can have large impacts on the society. Lastly, this gives any individual the right to “rewrite” history, and hide pasts they don’t want to reveal.

Although it does seem like being able to control what people see and read about you online should be your own right, I believe that giving people this power is too dangerous. Like the NPR panelists against this issue, I believe that views and history can be skewed if a similar legislation is passed to give an advantage to certain people. Yes we might not have 100% freedom because people can see everything, but too many things today rely on that very mechanic (or being able to see everything) to keep us safe and to keep the world fair.

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