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You Have "The Right To Be Forgotten"

Posted on Jun, 11 2012

You Have "The Right To Be Forgotten"


Do you have a right to have your data deleted from the Internet? Most people believe that there are two occasions when you do have this right. The first is when whoever is holding your data no longer needs it. The other is when you ask for that data to be removed. However, this can have some unintended consequences.

Is Data Deletion Akin To Censorship

Censorship always comes up when any debate occurs regarding removing information from the Internet. Making a rule that allows for someone to remove their own personal data could then be amended to apply to all sorts of things. That rule could even be used forcibly against citizens of a country in an effort to totally take them away from history. This is one reason why giving people the right to delete their data has failed, so far.

Different Countries Have Different Cultures

The United States puts a high value on free speech. This often times is placed above your right to privacy. Companies feel that your data is an important way to market goods and services. Should companies not have the right to market their products based on information you have willingly put online?

However, countries like Germany place a high premium on privacy. Bridging the gap between the two points of view is another obstacle for those who want data storage reform. Politics can get in the way of anything being done in the short-term.

What About Personal Rights?

Personal freedom should be considered whenever possible. However, is it possible to delete all copies of any information you want to delete? Cached copies of data could take time to fully remove. If content was copied, getting every site with your information to comply with a deletion request could take a long time.

Therefore, it could be tough to get your information taken down even if all parties were on the same page. The only thing that people can reasonably expect is that big companies will take steps to limit the amount of data that they collect about you.

There is a staggering amount of information that goes online each day. It can be hard to imagine a day when all of your personal data is kept in a secure location where it can only be accessed with your permission. The best thing you can do to keep your information private is to avoid posting anything online. Otherwise, you should expect that you privacy may be compromised until further reforms are passed.