Have you ever thought about how many people talk about you on the net? Have you been or are you a victim of media attacks? Read on and find out what is Right to be Forgotten is and how to exercise it on Google and Internet.
What is the right to be forgotten?
The right to be forgotten is the legal protection that allows you to preserve your reputation by the storage of information that are no longer relevant, and therefore outdated for the public interest.
The EU regulation 2016/679 has actually established that:
“The protection of natural persons in relation to the processing of personal data is a fundamental right.”
What does the Right to be Forgotten mean?
The meaning of the term Right To Be Forgotten, also called the Right to Erasure is enclosed in the etymology of the Latin term erasus, past participle of eradere, that means scrape out or Remove.
In this sense, here is also the meaning provided by the Cambridge Dictionary:
“The state of being completely forgotten.”
The right to be forgotten can therefore be defined as the guarantee of not spreading – in the absence of particular reasons – information that can constitute a prejudicial precedent for a person’s honor, in particular judicial precedents.
Birth of the Right to be Forgotten
The jurisprudence begins to speak of the right to be forgotten only from the nineties in the United Kingdom, though the Data Protection Act 1998 does not provide a process through which individuals may request to be forgotten.
The case of Laurence Godfrey v. Demon Internet Limited involves the first judicial decision within England and Wales which concerns a defamatory statement made via e-mail through an Internet Usenet discussion group.
Defamation law is provided for in the Defamation Act 2013 and in the common law introducing:
“A process through which persons who believe they have been defamed may request the removal of information from the website operator who hosts third party content, as well as the party who has posted the content.”
From a legislative point of view, the Right to be Forgotten becomes concrete only many years later.
Elizabeth Denham CBE is the current UK Information Commissioner (ICO), appointed in July 2016
The Act is overseen by an Information Commissioner, who states:
“The aim of data protection legislation is to “strike a balance between the rights of individuals and the sometimes competing interests of those with legitimate reasons for using personal information.”
To fully understand the current importance of the Right to be Forgotten, it is important to remember the judgment of the European Court of Justice of 13 May 2014 (Google vs AEPD), that forced Google to erase content deemed to be harmful.
Finally, on April 27, 2016, the European Parliament launched the GDPR, (download PDF), which governs the matter of personal data processing, with particular reference to the right to be forgotten on the Internet, extending the protection within and outside the EU border.
What Does “Be Forgotten” Mean?
The right to be forgotten is the protection of the reputation of the person involved in public affairs and makes the right to privacy prevail over the right of expression, by removing information from Google.
Let’s take a concrete example: if you have undergone a media trial even before a judicial trial, you risk finding yourself with a clean criminal record and a dirty online image.
When the news – harmful, defamatory and obsolete – ceases to be of public interest and falls into a private sphere, you can exercise the right to be forgotten, i.e. you can request that the erasure of the data.
The ultimate goal is to improve the so-called Reputation Score, i.e. the percentage of positive net sentiment generated online by you or your brand: the higher it is, the better your reputation will be.
What does the Right to be Forgotten Provide?
In a nutshell, the Right to be Forgotten provides these fundamental points:
1) The controller of an internet search engine is responsible for the processing of personal data;
2) The controller is obliged to remove links to certain web pages from the list of personal data;
3) The law applies if the information is incorrect, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive;
4) The request for removal must weigh the interests of the person involved and the public interest in accessing the information.
A historical sentence
Noteworthy is the judgement of the European Court of Justice enacted on 13 May 2014, centered on articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Rights.
The decision speaks for the first time of public interest as a discriminator of the right of expression when it comes to “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” information.
This allowed any citizen of the European Union to be able to establish a legal action for the removal of all compromising digital content that is not relevant to the public interest.
How to exercise the right to be forgotten?
Now let’s see how to exercise the right to be forgotten and ask for the erasure of content that is defamatory for your web reputation.
Here in detail the official procedure on Google and Social Networks.
How to Exercise it on Google
Self-protection through the right to be forgotten is carried out by downloading directly from Google a special form to which the search engine is bound by law.
Andrea Baggio, CEO of ReputationUP, explains to us how to exercise the right to be forgotten on Google:
1) Visit the Google support guide
2) Click on “create a request”
3) Enter the report page
4) Select the needed service
It should be noted that it can take Google a very long time, i.e. around 2 years, to take charge of your request.
The most appropriate solution – for those who need to assert their right to be forgotten in a short time – is to contact a specialized company such as ReputationUP.
Why the right to be forgotten doesn’t work
Although it is further ruled by the GDPR adopted in 2016, the right to be forgotten proves to be a mechanism that it is hard to put in practice: Google always takes too long to analyze requests for removal and de-indexing. And the outcomes are often negative.
Unlike the printed paper which becomes waste paper the next day, any content on the web is public and is not forgotten.
In some cases, this could generate problems of corporate or personal reputation that turn into real reputational crises, with negative effects on turnover.
Today, fortunately it is your right to safeguard privacy and prevent compromising content from jeopardizing your name or image.
As highlighted in the guide, the most effective and immediate solution to obtain the right to be forgotten is to contact a professional company specialized in removing negative information from the internet.
The filling of forms on Google is not enough to remove harmful URLs, in case you want immediate and secure protection.
Contact ReputationUP and avoid the spread of images, videos or news that could irreparably compromise your personal and working life.
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It’s free and it may help many people who don’t know how to defend themselves on the web today.