The Right To Be Forgotten

Marc Randazza

What can you do to protect your privacy in the digital age when so many people put their most precious – or ugliest – moments out there for everyone to see on social media? Worst of all, how can you protect yourself when someone else puts your private moments online ‘for you’ with or without your knowledge? CNN published an editorial by Marc Randazza about the right to be forgotten.

European courts ruled recently that people have a “right to be forgotten.” Meaning that if you live in the European Union, you may soon be able to have things about you scrubbed from the web. The case arose when a man, Mario Gonzalez,  found that any time anyone searched for his name online, what would come up was some information about old debts from 16 years ago. Now, the European courts have decided that someone’s privacy is worth more than Google’s desire to make information accessible by anyone who wants to access old information about a private individual.

Randazza points out that before the internet, your past would just go away, but now with the Internet, your past is permanently available to others forever. Marc says that such a law, which allows information to be scrubbed from the web, could be used maliciously, to delete important information, but many people’s lives could be improved by carefully enacting legislation that allows people to move forward without fear of any little misstep becoming part of their cloud-based permanent record.