The Right to be Forgotten

delete-buttonWith the increase ability of Internet in terms of searching and sorting personal data, and the expand for people in using Internet virtual space, more and more privacy information will be exposure on the public internal space. That also becomes the backgrounds of generating the “right to be forgotten”.

The right to be forgotten is used for help people to delete the past harmful information on the Internet cloud which announced by European Commission at the end of January in this year. Although it started a good point that aims to protect the privacy of people, it still addresses some other problems at the same time.

First of all, from Jeffrey Rosen, “it is very hard to escape your past on the Internet now that every photo, status update, and tweet lives forever in the cloud.” (Jeffrey.R. Feb.13.2012) In fact, even it is accessible as the link of that information has been deleted on the goggle search engines, the separately of data in everywhere else could not be delete or eliminated very clearly. Additionally, this right is specially focused on the Google engines, what if some other engines. How about some people have already got your privacy information before it has been deleted? It is totally possible for them to publish it again. As a general, this right doesn’t help a lot.

Second, delete one past data forever not only need improve the technology, but it spend too much of money and human resources. Before an application of deleting one data has been approved, it must be justice in advance for sure. Setting an extra community to justify whether or not this information can be removed is costly. The company of Google or Facebook also need to distribute more people on the tasks of evaluating and eliminating the data from website. From David Stuart, Google has since set up a web form to facilitate this process and reported receiving more than 41,000 requests in the first four days. The huge cost is not hard to guess. What else, Jeffrey Rosen also stated that this right will make Google and Facebook liable up to two percent of their global income if they fail to eliminate photos or status that people posted long time ago about themselves but regret recently, even if those information has been widely distributed already.

Third, this right stands an opposite side of free comments. Everyone has opportunity of saying anything in public, it is a standard and fundamental of setting a democracy country. The right of forgotten is given by the low of privacy. We can conclude that the low of privacy and the right of free comments are mutual contradictions but depend on each other as well. Setting of censorship in terms of monitoring and justifying the information transaction is no doubt in destroying the first principle of constitution, freedom of expression. This paradox cannot be solved as long as the existence of the right of privacy, and that is also one reason I don’t support this new right.

As conclusion, I don’t have a positive attitude towards the right of forgotten cause the suspect of accessible, the cost of data-remove, and the verse of freedom of speech. I wish it can success in future but solved the previous problems I stated at first. And more important, we still need to figure out some questions in below. What is the standard on approving one requirement of deleting information? If it is need to separate the requirements between the normal citizens and public people? More specifically, if one candidate of politician allowed to delete his or her link of scandal news from the Google?


Jeffrey Rosen (Feb.13.2012). Stanford Law Review. The Privacy Paradox. The Right to Be Forgotten. Retrieved from:

James Vincent (Jul. 3rd. 2014). Sunshine Coast Daily. Right to be forgotten’ ruling sees Google remove links. Retrieved from:


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