The Right to be Forgotten: Legislating for Individuals to Regain Control of their Personal Information on Social Networks

Smith, Kathryn
July 2014
Reinvention: An International Journal of Undergraduate Research;2014, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Facebook has over a billion users and, along with other forms of social media, has become a part of the everyday lives of many people. However, the benefits of increased connectivity bring with them risks to privacy. Individuals can be at the mercy of others when it comes to the personal information shared about them on social networks. The European Union (EU)'s proposed 'right to be forgotten' could give EU citizens the right to erase unwanted data from social networks and take back control of their personal information. However, issues of interpretation of the right to be forgotten need to be addressed, particularly in relation to the categories of data that could be subject to this right. Debates are raging over the relative weight that should be given to privacy and freedom of expression, and critics of the right to be forgotten argue that embodying it in legislation could amount to censorship of the internet. Against this backdrop, this article argues for a broad construction of the right to be forgotten, and highlights the importance of being able to 'forget' in the age of social networking.


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