The Right to Be Forgotten?
The “right to be forgotten” from Internet searches ought to be a civil right.
By: Sreya Palnati
I think that the right to be forgotten from internet searches is needed and necessary. This is because people should have control over their personal information, and because of the fact that privacy is fundamental.
First of all, people should have control over their personal information and who gets to see it. 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email, from avoiding using their name to using virtual networks that mask their internet protocol (IP) address. 55% of internet users have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government, according to pewinternet.org. Many others who see these statistics think that people have control over the information they post on the internet. But the truth is that most of these people who have taken these careful steps still aren’t fully secure. Anyone can still look at their personal information anytime. Especially with today’s increasing knowledge about hacking systems, etc., many people will know how to use this information to hurt others. Instead, these are the facts that are really important to know. 21% of internet users have had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over by someone else without permission. 11% of internet users have had important personal information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information. All of these facts/evidence lead to the conclusion that most people might think that their personal information is secure, but it actually isn’t. Without having the right to be forgotten, the majority of the population will continue to be cheated online. That is one of the reasons as to why having the right to be forgotten on the internet is needed.
Also, privacy is fundamental. Fundamental rights are a generally regarded set of legal protections in the context of a legal system, wherein such system is itself based upon this same set of basic, fundamental, or inalienable rights. When people don’t have privacy, they often don’t feel secure. They feel as if they have been exploited and everyone can look at them, which is very true. This makes people be less honest on what they post on the internet, which could lead to very bad consequences, depending on the scenario. That is why privacy is so important and therefore a fundamental right. Having the right to be forgotten would lead many people to be more open about what they say and the internet would be a comfortable environment for people to post in.
Additionally, the right to be forgotten violates property rights. “Personal data and information is property” -shatterthelens.com. Just because someone posts something on the internet, it doesn’t mean that anyone can use that information in any way they like. “When you are online, you provide information to others at almost every step of the way.” says privacyrights.org. For example, if you give a website some of your personal information, you are providing information to others. Teen Twitter use has grown significantly: 24% of online teens use Twitter, up from 16% in 2011, according to pewinternet.org. This is especially bad because teens are now sharing more personal information than they did before. This risks their safety. If there was the right to be forgotten on the internet, this wouldn’t be a problem. Also according to pewinternet.org, teen social media users do not express a high level of concern about third-party access to their data; just 9% say they are “very” concerned. We wouldn’t have to waste money on teaching these teens to be careful on what they post on the internet if there was the right to be forgotten on internet searches.
People should have control over their personal information, privacy is fundamental, and the right to be forgotten violates property rights. Therefore, the right to be forgotten from internet searches ought to be a civil right.
"Basic Privacy Rights." Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <http://www.privacyrights.org/>.
"Privacy Rights Statistics." Pew Research Centers Internet American Life Project RSS. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <http://www.pewinternet.org/>.
""Right To Be Forgotten From Internet Searches"" Shatterthelens. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <http://www.shatterthelens.com/>.