The Right to be Forgotten: Myth Busting - Deepstash
The Right to be Forgotten: Myth Busting

The Right to be Forgotten: Myth Busting

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The Right To Be Forgotten

“The right to be forgotten” (RTBF), also known as the right to erasure, gives individuals the right to ask organisations to delete their personal data. It appears in Recitals 65 and 66 and in Article 17 of the GDPR.


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Myth 1: “The Judgement Does Nothing For Citizens”

  • The right to be forgotten is about making sure that the people themselves – not algorithms – decide what information is available about them when their name is entered in a search engine.
  • In practice this means that a search engine will have to, subject to certain conditions being met, remove a search result linking to a specific webpage when it receives a request from a citizen.
  • Therefore, the judgement makes sure that citizens are in control of their personal data.


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Myth 2: “The Judgement Entails The Deletion Of Content”

  • The judgement only concerns search engine results involving a person’s name.
  • The content remains unaffected by the request lodged with the search engine, in its original location on the internet.
  • The content can still be found through the same search engine based on a different query.


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Myth 3: “The Judgement Contradicts Freedom Of Expression”

  • The RTBF, which is a part of the right to personal data protection, is not absolute. It is balanced against other fundamental rights.
  • That’s why the judgement limits the RTBF and recognises that there may be a public interest in all links to content remaining online.
  • RTBF applies only where the information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the purposes of data processing.


26 reads

Myth 4: “The Judgement Allows For Censorship”

  • RTBF does not allow governments to decide what can and cannot be online or what should or should not be read.
  • It is a right that citizens will invoke to defend their interests as they see fit. Independent authorities (national data protection authorities + national courts) will oversee the assessment carried out by the search engine operators.


23 reads

Myth 5: “The Judgement Will Change The Way The Internet Works”

  • As content is not deleted, the internet does not have a diminished importance as a source of information. Takedown mechanism already existed before.


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