The 'Right to be Forgotten' Online within G20 Statutory Data Protection Frameworks

27 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2019 Last revised: 30 Oct 2019

See all articles by David Erdos

David Erdos

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; Trinity Hall

Krzysztof Garstka

British Law Centre; University of Cambridge

Date Written: September 10, 2019


Although it is the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and the Google Spain judgment which has brought the concept of the ʻright to be forgottenʼ online to the fore, this paper argues that its basic underpinnings are present in the great majority of G20 statutory frameworks. Whilst China, India, Saudi Arabia and the United States remain exceptional cases, fifteen out of nineteen (almost 80%) of G20 countries now have fully-fledged statutory data protection laws. By default, almost all of these laws empower individuals to challenge the continued dissemination of personal data not only when such data may be inaccurate but also on wider legitimacy grounds. Moreover, eleven of these countries have adopted statutory ʻintermediaryʼ shields which could help justify why certain online platforms may be required to respond to well-founded ex post challenges even if they lack most ex ante duties here. Nevertheless, the precise scope of many data protection laws online remains opaque and the relationship between such laws and freedom of expression is often unsatisfactory. Despite this, it is argued that G20 countries and G20 Data Protection Authorities should strive to achieve proportionate and effective reconciliation between online freedom of expression and ex post data protection claims, both through careful application of existing law and ultimately through and under new legislative initiatives.

Keywords: data protection, defamation, freedom of expression, G20, intermediary liability, privacy, rehabilitation, right to be forgotten, reputation, sensitive data, social media

Suggested Citation

Erdos, David and Garstka, Krzysztof, The 'Right to be Forgotten' Online within G20 Statutory Data Protection Frameworks (September 10, 2019). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 31/2019, Available at SSRN: or

David Erdos (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom


Trinity Hall ( email )

University of Cambridge
Trinity Lane
Cambridge, CB2 1TJ
United Kingdom

Krzysztof Garstka

British Law Centre

University of Cambridge ( email )

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