Law in the Internet Society

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RemicardSeremeSecondEssay 4 - 02 Feb 2022 - Main.EbenMoglen
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The Right to be forgotten

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 It has been successfully invoked in a few cases: a dutch surgeon obtained the deletion of certain links to websites containing an unofficial blacklist of healthcare professionals on which she was listed; the ECtHR ruled that an order by Belgian national courts to a Belgian newspaper to anonymize the name of the driver for a fatal accident in 1994 in an article included in the newspaper’s digital archives on the basis of the right to be forgotten, didn’t constitute a violation of the publisher’s right to freedom of expression under Article 10 ECHR. However, more often than not these cases don’t go to court or are unsuccessful like in the M.L. and W.W. v. Germany case.
Legal research by Google, turning up journalism rather than cases.

 The best argument for this “right to delisting” is to empower people who are harmed or distressed by information about them on the internet and don’t have the means to hire lawyers and allow them to obtain a certain form of remedy. However, it can hardly be argued that this regulation achieves that goal. Shortly after the 2014 decision, Google set up a web form that allows people to signal links which they want to be taken down and why. However, Google barely shares any statistics about how many complaints it has processed and enjoys broad discretion on how to decide these cases. Furthermore, in a 2019 case opposing Google and the CNIL, the top data-protection regulator in France, the ECJ ruled that Art 17 GDPR cannot be enforced outside of the European Union, which means that one only needs to search on for the de-listed link in Europe to be accessible.
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 I believe that rather than a “right to be forgotten”, the EU should enact a “right to be remembered” which would require users to opt-in for being tracked and for companies to store their personal information. The idea would be to promote a net without surveillance, but I am aware that it is not within the powers of the EU to do so as they have no real control over the major players of the net like Google.

An improvement, for sure. The draft is no longer retailing decade-old falsehoods. Even though the research is spotty it is sufficient to reveal that the received wisdom is total bullshit.

The next draft can now begin the real investigation: what does it mean that this highly-promoted nonsense is the official story of a supposedly-important regulatory innovation by the European Commission?


Revision 4r4 - 02 Feb 2022 - 11:30:19 - EbenMoglen
Revision 3r3 - 13 Jan 2022 - 22:57:03 - RemicardSereme
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