Data Subjects' Privacy Rights: Regulation of Personal Data Retention and Erasure
37 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2019 Last revised: 7 Mar 2019
Date Written: January 30, 2019
The European Union's right to erasure came into effect May 25, 2018, as Article 17 of the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"). Unlike the U.S. "marketplace of ideas" model of free speech, the GDPR gives greater weight to data subjects' privacy interests than to audiences' curiosity about others' intimate lives. The U.S. and EU models advance human thirst for knowledge through open and uninhibited debates, whereas the internet marketplace tends to favor social media companies' commercial interests: put more specifically, free speech is not entirely harmonious with the interests of social media intermediaries whose algorithms tend to favor companies' bottom lines rather than strictly the expansion of knowledge.
European law is less tolerant of privacy invasions than is U.S. constitutional jurisprudence. This Essay examines the GDPR's privacy policies and contrasts them from the U.S. preference for augmenting information available to audiences. It further critiques current U.S. recalcitrance in matters of commercial internet governance and suggests limited U.S. regulatory reform.
Keywords: Privacy, Free Speech, Legal Theory, Comparative Law, Digital Privacy, First Amendment
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation