Right to be forgotten on the internet: what it is and how to enforce it
The Internet is an inexhaustible source of information that allows us to travel virtually to every corner of the world and, thanks to its vast archives, to some extent over time. But the almost infinite memory of the network also has another face: it is an open window on people’s past, even when that past is now distant and outdated.
The concept of the diritto all oblio gdpr was born precisely to protect the privacy of people when the facts, perhaps in the news, which have concerned them are no longer relevant . Let’s see what it is, what laws regulate it and how to enforce it.
What is the right to be forgotten
Closely linked to the right to privacy and to the protection of personal data, the right to be forgotten guarantees those who want to enforce the deletion of personal information that is detrimental to reputation and disseminated publicly (specifically, online).
A relatively common example: a person is convicted of an offense and a series of information that makes him recognizable (name, surname, profession and so on) becomes public on news sites. It is obvious that this could damage their reputation years later.
Well, the diritto all oblio establishes that, under certain conditions, the person has the right to request the removal of such information, so that the offense committed a long time ago does not continue to have harmful effects also, for example, on his life. present and future professional.
But be careful: we said under certain conditions. In fact, the right to be forgotten affects the right to news and journalistic information , so it is in the public interest that certain information be disclosed and remain available over time to those who want to consult it.
Ultimately, in fact, it is up to the judge or the Privacy Guarantor to establish when the request for deletion of personal information from the news is legitimate and when not, precisely in the name of the public interest.
What laws govern the right to be forgotten
The right to be forgotten is governed by article 17 of the GDPR , or the EU Regulation on the protection of personal data. The latter determines in which cases a person has the right to request the deletion of his personal data held by a controller if he objects to their use. However, as we have already said, this right does not apply if the data are used to exercise the right to freedom of expression and information.
But it is above all the cases that have ended up in court that make school. In particular, a judgment issued on 26 June 2018 by the European Court of Human Rights ruled that if the information disclosed is of public interest (in the case in question, it was the names of three people convicted of murder) it should not be deleted. .
Google and the right to be forgotten: the case of Spain
From another ruling of great importance – the one that saw Google and the Spanish agency for the protection of personal data oppose – a series of guidelines have emerged concerning the right to be forgotten and search engines.
In practice, they describe how an applicant has the right to obtain the de-indexing by search engines of the pages containing his personal data. Here are the most important points:
- Search engines, including Google, are configured as data controllers, and therefore must comply with the GDPR, even when the data in question is published on third-party sites that they index.
- Here too, the public interest prevails over the request of individuals to have their data deleted, when these are relevant to the community.
- The data should not be deleted from the original source , but the source cannot appear as a result of a search using the name of the person concerned. However, it may appear if you search for other keywords.
- This must happen on all search engine domains .
In practice, a person has the right to request that his name, if typed in a search engine, no longer results in news pages that report, for example, a crime. But only if the latter is no longer in the public interest.
How to make it worth it
To submit a request for the removal of content that includes your data from Google, you can follow the procedure indicated by the search engine and, in the event of a negative response or lack of response, contact the judicial authority or the Privacy Guarantor. Similar procedures also exist for other search engines active in cos’è diritto oblio.