The Emerging Conflict between Newsworthiness and the Right to Be Forgotten
17 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2012 Last revised: 13 Jul 2014
Date Written: 2012
In early 2010 it was reported that the some of the nations of the European Union were considering passing legislation aimed a protecting an individual's "right to be forgotten." The right to be forgotten is such that a person's past deeds, though chronicled and now available on the Internet, were considered private. Therefore, any person could demand that the possessor of this information erase it or face a lawsuit.
Although EU members hail the creation of this right to be forgotten as improving individual privacy rights, such a right creates a problem for American online news organizations. Not only does such law come into direct conflict with protections found in the First Amendment, but it also conflicts with traditional privacy jurisprudence, which states that information made public cannot become private again. At the same time, Americans seem to be attempting to assert a right to be forgotten. For instance, a man threatened to sue a college newspaper that had articles reporting on the misdeeds of his son in its online archives.
Keywords: right to be forgotten, privacy, newsworthiness, European Union
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