Do You Have the Right to be Forgotten?

How much do you value your privacy?

Most of us value our privacy more than we realize.

We all tell ourselves we have nothing to hide. Yet, we don’t want anyone looking at our bank statements or our kid’s report card, or counting the number of wine bottles in our recycling bill. We don’t want the neighbors hearing our arguments with our spouses or seeing how messy our houses are. We don’t want people to know how much we weigh or what medications we take.

We protect our privacy by shredding documents and living behind closed and locked doors.

Yet, there is one door we have left wide open.

Consider this–the mind boggling amount of data we create EVERY DAY on the internet:

  • 4.3 BILLION Facebook messages
  • 5.75 BILLION Facebook likes
  • 22 BILLION texts
  • 5.2 BILLION daily Google Searches

(Source: Micro Focus Blog)

We don’t pay a dime to access services that we use every day, all day. Yet we do pay a huge cost. Billion dollar companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter get our data. A lot of data. More data than we would ever be able to comprehend.

They also own it.

Searching and browsing history, private conversations in e-mail, 24/7 geolocation status (apps on our smart phones), private photos stored in the cloud? All shared with and owned by billion dollar companies.

But what if you don’t want your data given away on a daily basis? What if you value your privacy in the real world AND online? Can you shut the door on the Internet?

Do you have the right to be forgotten?

In Europe, the answer is yes.

European privacy laws focus heavily on the privacy of individual citizens.

Google has received more than 650,000 requests to remove certain websites from its search results since a European court ordered the company to allow Europeans the “right to be forgotten” in 2014. According to Google, 89% of the requests come from private individuals asking for links to social media sites, directories, news articles, and government pages to be removed.

Google has removed 43% of the requested links.

In the U.S., the answer is no. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, meaning that laws involving censorship of accurate and non-private information (information not related to personal finances or healthcare) are very unlikely to be passed in the U.S.

So what can you do if you want to delete your data from the internet?

  • Delete your online accounts, even those you don’t use anymore.
  • Remove yourself from data broker sites.
  • Shut down your email accounts.
  • If you have to use the internet to pay bills, shop online, or share photos, use a “virtual private network” (VPN).

How worried are you about your privacy online? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Disclaimer: This website is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. The website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Copyright © 2018 by Siobhán Fitzpatrick Kratovil. All Rights Reserved.

 

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