The Right to be forgotten

01 Jul 2015

Since the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” law was introduced, the backlash against has not stopped. Quickly, many people requested that search results have a link or two removed, as was now their right.

In many cases, these requested removals did not happen, due to rejection from the search engine to whom they requested that the link be removed. All search engines dealing with these responses have their own teams managing this.

This particular law is a source of irritation for many, and very rightly so. Search results are able to be doctored, such that important news stories and other web pages pertaining to a particular person, are rendered inaccessible through common means. This is something that has agitated many broadcasters, publications and other websites besides.

In fact, the BBC has in fact gone to the measure of recording the number of articles censored under the “Right to be forgotten” ruling. Every censored article is listed on an article on the BBC Internet blog, titled “List of BBC web pages which have been removed from Google’s search results”.

If you view that very list it is clear the scale in which the law affects so many articles upon the website. Convicted rapists, for example, are using this mechanism to make a search for their name not bring up material which should be present. There are many more examples I could give of where this is indeed wrong, and ought to be treated as such.

Furthermore, outside of the internet, there is no “right” to be forgotten, and if there were a form of this law outside the internet, it would be referred to as what it is — Censorship.

Censorship shouldn’t be treated as reasonable — and therefore this law shouldn’t be treated as reasonable either.

Also posted on Medium.