The Right to Be Forgotten: Forced Amnesia in a Technological Age
31 J. Marshall J. Info. Tech. & Privacy L. 133 (2015)
John Marshall Journal of Computer & Information Law, Forthcoming
13 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2014 Last revised: 6 Sep 2015
Date Written: October 15, 2014
In recent years the United States of America has undergone a significant debate on the scope of its citizens’ privacy rights. One significant aspect of this discussion has been data and its acquisition by third parties. In much of Europe, among the citizenry’s rights is a legal concept referred to as le droit à l’oubli. This “right to be forgotten” is a nebulous term whose exact meaning varies by country, but can generally be defined as the right of an individual to control data pertaining to them and have it destroyed if they so desire. The European Union has begun undertaking some tentative steps towards more clearly defining that right. However, on the other side of the Atlantic the United States has also begun to revise its laws at the state level. Among the most prominent instances was the recent effort of California to combat “revenge porn” through legislation. This article seeks to compare the approaches of the various European states to instances occurring in the United States and how they differ. It will also outline some of the potential objections and remedies to the American efforts.
Keywords: right to be forgotten, le droit à l’oubli, privacy, data protection, privacy, revenge porn, Facebook, social media, Twitter, California, European Union, Europe, United States, media, defamation, free speech, First Amendment
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