Information in the Internet Age: Europe Defends the Right to be Forgotten

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Information in the Internet Age: Europe Defends the Right to be Forgotten

In the modern, digital era, information about anything or anyone is readily available. All you need to do is type an inquiry into Google and the results will typically reveal what you are looking for. Many individuals, however, are beginning to argue that information may be too available, particularly personal information. The issue becomes more complicated when we consider whether all of the information on the internet is accurate. The answer is “no.” There is a bounty of outdated and incorrect information available on the internet. This is an issue which the European Court of Justice has taken up with the global search giant, Google.

In 2014, the European Court of Justice passed a rule which stated individuals had the “right to be forgotten.” This meant that individuals had the right to ask Google to remove outdated or inaccurate personal information from their search databases. Google initially resisted this move, believing that it would impinge on the free flow of information. Eventually, a compromise was reached.

Under the European Court of Justice ruling, Google would remove relevant search results from the European version of its search engine. However, the information would persist in the American version of the search engine.

European citizens quickly found a way around this, as they could easily navigate to the American version of the search engine when they wanted to make search inquires. The European Court of Justice was predictably unhappy with this workaround.

The French data protection agency CNIL ordered Google to remove the offending content from all versions of their search engine database in September of 2015.

Google is currently appealing this decision, but if the ruling is upheld, it would be the strictest regulation ever placed on the international search giant. The implications may even affect future regulations regarding Internet data rights and personal security.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/8/2024). Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash