Do you have a right to be forgotten?
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Do you have a right to be forgotten?

#PrivacyIsOurRight
#PrivacyIsGone
Join the conversation and vote below

Google is grappling with rights to privacy and rights to free speech. In 2014, Europe’s highest court established the idea that citizens have the right to be forgotten—a foreign concept to most Americans.  In Europe, individuals can be deleted from certain internet records. But Google and other media organizations believe that deleting all search results on a single individual worldwide amounts to censorship. European law does not cross continents, but the internet does. What do you think? 

THE VOTES ARE IN!
#PrivacyIsOurRight
72.5%
#PrivacyIsGone
27.5%

The European Union has been been a trailblazer when it comes to maintaining privacy on the internet. As NPR’s Aarti Shanhani puts it: 

Europe didn't create Internet giants like Google or Facebook, but now it's engineering a legal way to control them.

Companies who violate these new guidelines can face fines of up to $25 million. 

Companies like Google, Buzzfeed and the Associated Press argue that deleting an individual’s search results across the world takes privacy a step too far and infringe the public’s right to free speech and free expression. But the right to access information cannot be slighted in the interest of protecting free expression. Business Insider looks to the executive director of the freedom-of-expression group Article 19, Thomas Hughes, for insight:

European data regulators should not be allowed to decide what internet users around the world find when they use a search engine.

The right to privacy is outlined in Article 12 of the Declaration of Human Rights. No matter how many quandaries this right stirs up, a solution must be found in order to honor the rules set forth. Consequences from the Cambridge Analytica scandal—where 87 million Facebook users’ data was harvested for psychological profiling and ultimately political gain—still linger, with similar scandals likely imminent.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, faced many questions relating to privacy during his Senate hearing earlier this year. Senator Richard J. Durban, Democrat of Illinois, honed in on the issue:

I think that may be what this is all about...Your right to privacy. The limits of your right to privacy. And how much you give away in modern America in the name of, quote, connecting people around the world.

Technology already dominates public life, and advances in artificial intelligence, blockchain and more will only strengthen the relationship between human and machine. Although many look to Europe as an example, perhaps it’s too late to truly protect the right to be forgotten. If the EU’s laws on the “right to be forgotten” are applied worldwide—thus deleting search engine results on certain individuals in regions outside of the EU—Google representatives worry:

...the decision could also lead to more authoritarian regimes in Russia or China exporting their own digital restrictions outside of their borders.
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