Another Way to Break the Internet: ‘The Right to Be Forgotten’

February 14th, 2012

Not April 1st: Check.

Not The Onion: Check.

Via: Stanford Law Review:

At the end of January, the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights, and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, announced the European Commission’s proposal to create a sweeping new privacy right—the “right to be forgotten.” The right, which has been hotly debated in Europe for the past few years, has finally been codified as part of a broad new proposed data protection regulation. Although Reding depicted the new right as a modest expansion of existing data privacy rights, in fact it represents the biggest threat to free speech on the Internet in the coming decade. The right to be forgotten could make Facebook and Google, for example, liable for up to two percent of their global income if they fail to remove photos that people post about themselves and later regret, even if the photos have been widely distributed already. Unless the right is defined more precisely when it is promulgated over the next year or so, it could precipitate a dramatic clash between European and American conceptions of the proper balance between privacy and free speech, leading to a far less open Internet.

2 Responses to “Another Way to Break the Internet: ‘The Right to Be Forgotten’”

  1. BrowsingMonkey Says:

    For some reason the first thing that popped into my mind when reading this story was Orwell:

    This is being presented in the Standford Law Review and by the European Commission as something people are asking for (demanding even) and presented as a new “enforceable” right being granted to us (yay! rights are good!). The same way people are “demanding” GMOs and skynet I guess.

    While some may question if we can actually erase someone’s entire internet history at the moment, the threat to the profits of corporations like Google and Facebook means that they will endeavour to come up with the necessary tools.

    Once those tools are developped then the ability to silence some annoying blogger before they become well known will certainly be put to good use.

    Imagine if somehting like Wikileaks and all reference to it could be erased from the net before it made mainstream news. The masses held in thrall by modern media would never know and all your left with are crazy “conspiracy theories” about how this guy posted somehing once on the internet but the government shut him up and erased all traces but you saw it for the 5 minutes it was available…etc.

    It truly is a brave new world.

  2. realitydesign Says:

    Yes, but a new emerging problem is young (usually teenage girls) having there lives ruined by the uploading and spreading of inappropriate photos. One shouldn’t overlook the psychological damage this can cause. I am sure there has been some sort of push for ways to stop this or at least undo it.

    Not to mention how last year the King of Sweden was said to have been threatened by a group of guys with connections to people he knows that had photos of him “rocking out” and were to spread them online.

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