Defining the Right to Be Forgotten: A Comparative Analysis between the EU and the US

88 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2016

Date Written: March 27, 2015


The right to be forgotten has been placed in the spotlight in light of the recent CJEU Google Spain-Costeja-Gonzalez case. Its emergence has reopened a discussion on what the place of data protection is in the broader debate on privacy versus freedom of speech, as well as how personal data should be approached by all stakeholders affected by it.

This paper will first establish whether a general and theoretical ideal definition of the right to be forgotten which would go beyond jurisdictions is possible, intended to represent a starting point for the implementation or interpretation of this right by any government or court. Using scholarly work, it will identify the main elements of the right seeking a harmonization of views, without questioning the necessity or the legitimacy of such endeavor.

After presenting how the concept has evolved throughout history, this paper carries out a detailed evaluation of how the two major jurisdictions, the EU and the US, are dealing with the right to be forgotten, emphasizing the major differences in terms of ideology and legal structure. It shows that the right to be forgotten was not a new concept for neither EU nor US. Furthermore, by analyzing the American legal and ideological system, it proves that the US is in fact compatible with the right to be forgotten as it was established by the CJEU in the Google Spain-Costeja case.

Keywords: Right to be forgotten; Privacy; Data protection; Oblivion; Erasure; European Union; United States; Google Spain; Court of Justice of the EU

Suggested Citation

Stupariu, Ioana, Defining the Right to Be Forgotten: A Comparative Analysis between the EU and the US (March 27, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Ioana Stupariu (Contact Author)

Central European University ( email )

Nador utca 9
Budapest, H-1051

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