The Right to Be Forgotten Comes of Age

15 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2020

See all articles by Roberto Pardolesi

Roberto Pardolesi

LUISS “Guido Carli” University of Rome; Law & Economics LAB

Date Written: July 1, 2020


As time goes by, dust accumulates, feelings are diluted and dispersed, psychological and physical wounds heal, synapses get lost, memory vanishes, people forget (but the Internet does not). Oblivion is in the nature of things and should be dealt with as such. One can accept it, or fight, resist and (try to) remember. But what about a legal pretense to (force third parties to) cancel one’s past?

The starting point of the paper is a basic taxonomy, with three entries: (i) predigital, traditional right to be forgotten; (ii) European digital oblivion (right to delisting); (iii) possibly, a third frontier, still in search of definition, to be labelled provisionally as archival oblivion.

The three epiphanies refer to different settings, though partially converging and marginally overlapping. The overall picture looks confused and is somehow exposed to exasperated outcomes. But recent judicial efforts, in Italy and Germany, contribute to define a viable equilibrium.

Keywords: right to be forgotten, privacy, personal data protection, freedom of information

JEL Classification: K10, K36

Suggested Citation

Pardolesi, Roberto, The Right to Be Forgotten Comes of Age (July 1, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Roberto Pardolesi (Contact Author)

LUISS “Guido Carli” University of Rome ( email )

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Law & Economics LAB ( email )

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