There has been much debate about the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ recently, with people asking questions such as: ‘under what circumstances should it be implemented?’ and ‘does the implementation of it undermine free speech?’.
The ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ debate revolves largely around consideration of the public’s interest in the information versus the person’s interest in privacy – at what point do public interests outweigh private interest?
These questions have been tackled by the EU, who have now released guidelines on the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ in order to help with the implementation of it. These guidelines, as summarised by Search Engine Land, are as follows:
1. Does the search result relate to a natural person – i.e. an individual? And does the search result come up against a search on the data subject’s name?
2. Does the data subject play a role in public life? Is the data subject a public figure?
3. Is the data subject a minor?
4. Is the data accurate?
5. Is the data relevant and not excessive?
6. Is the information sensitive within the meaning of Article 8 of the Directive 95/46/EC?
7. Is the data up to date? Is the data being made available for longer than is necessary for the purpose of the processing?
8. Is the data processing causing prejudice to the data subject? Does the data have a disproportionately negative privacy impact on the data subject?
9. Does the search result link to information that puts the data subject at risk?
10. In what context was the information published?
11. Was the original content published in the context of journalistic purposes?
12. Does the publisher of the data have a legal power – or a legal obligation– to make the personal data publicly available?
13. Does the data relate to a criminal offence?
It is worth noting, also, that the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ doesn’t affect the original source of the information. The information isn’t be censored, it is just becoming more difficult to find. In any case, it seems that the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ will at the very least need to be implemented very carefully, as background information on public figures is arguably very important for the public to know.
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