Blog

The Right to Be Forgotten...Only for Google? Don't be So Sure

A European high court has ruled that people can have links about themselves removed from internet search results if requested. This ruling is known as "The Right to be Forgotten" and has its roots in the French concept of droit a l'oubli, or the right to oblivion.

A European high court has ruled that people can have links about themselves removed from internet search results if requested. This ruling is known as "The Right to be Forgotten" and has its roots in the French concept of droit a l'oubli, or the right to oblivion.

The implications of this ruling are still being debated, but Google has already received thousands of requests from individuals to have links, that refer to them, removed. How would this measure work for multi-nationals who may be also governed by America's First Amendment free-speech provision? Can requests come from businesses, governments and others who are not individuals? But what are the implications for other businesses?

Some, such as Kevin Hauzeur from the Belgian Pirate Party, do not think that the measures go far enough. Will banks, utilities, retailers and health providers be required to remove information about old clients at their requests?

If a hacker were to steal data on an individual who had requested that his information be removed, is the company that was hacked liable? Do these companies even know all of the places within their environment where they have multiple copies of a person's data?