Privacy and the Internet

December 4, 2015 • Volume 25, Issue 43
Should Americans have a “right to be forgotten”?
By Sarah Glazer

Introduction

European courts and regulators have required Google and other search engines to delete Web links (AP Photo/Dominic Lipinski)
European courts and regulators have required Google and other search engines to delete Web links to Europeans' unwanted personal information, and a French regulator wants the doctrine applied to the Google.com search page used by Americans. Critics say the moves conflict with the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of free expression. (AP Photo/Dominic Lipinski)

In decisions with far-reaching implications on both sides of the Atlantic, European courts and regulators have ruled that Google and other search engines must delete links to Europeans' unwanted personal information from the Web, reinforcing a “right to be forgotten” that has a long legal tradition on the continent. A French regulator's order applying that doctrine to the Google.com search page used by Americans is widely seen as conflicting with the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of free expression. Even so, some privacy advocates say Americans should have a right to erase some information from the Web, such as embarrassing photos or postings that could damage their reputation or prevent them from getting a job. So far, federal and state laws allow only certain kinds of data, such as bankruptcy records, to be expunged online after a certain period of time. But polls suggest Americans want more control over other kinds of personal information online.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Privacy
Dec. 04, 2015  Privacy and the Internet
Oct. 25, 2013  Big Data and Privacy
Aug. 30, 2013  Government Surveillance
Jan. 25, 2013  Social Media Explosion
Sep. 17, 2010  Social Networking
Nov. 06, 2009  Online Privacy Updated
Nov. 17, 2006  Privacy in Peril
Jun. 15, 2001  Privacy Under Attack
Nov. 06, 1998  Internet Privacy
Nov. 19, 1993  Privacy in the Workplace
Apr. 17, 1992  Politicians and Privacy
Jan. 20, 1989  Your Right to Privacy
Mar. 21, 1986  Privacy in the Workplace
Oct. 18, 1974  Rights to Privacy
Apr. 05, 1967  Wiretapping and Bugging
Apr. 20, 1966  Protection of Privacy
Nov. 09, 1961  Wiretapping in Law Enforcement
Feb. 29, 1956  Surveillance of Spying
Jan. 25, 1956  Eavesdropping Controls
Mar. 14, 1949  Wire Tapping
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Consumer Behavior
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Crime and Law Enforcement
General International Relations
Global Issues
Internet and Social Media