Recently a top court for the European Union is considering a ruling that would force tech companies to destroy collected personal data upon request. Up until this point companies have collected personal data on millions of people and the general population has had little say in it. Allowing people to decide when and what kind of information to share and have stored should be within their personal rights, though getting back to that place in time is easier said than done.
It’s being labeled as “the right to be forgotten.” People are fed up with information being shared against their will (even though they most likely shared said information willingly at some point). Americans are just as concerned about privacy as Europeans, but the U.S. court system has not been as responsive as their counterparts in the E.U. People may now ask for personal information to be removed and companies like Google must comply or else face legal repercussions. By continuing to operate inside the E.U. they have agreed to these new terms.
So you’re thinking great! Now you can get that embarrassing video of yourself removed for ever. But not quite. If you ask a company (like Google) to destroy information they can say no, and you are then forced to sue. The company you are suing will most likely have a team of lawyers on retainer, because data is business and less you have the less you’re going to make. They will show up just in the defense of their right to collect data, it won’t really make a difference what that data is. You will have to prove that the data you are requesting they remove has had a serious and long lasting negative impact on your life as well as how it is not a matter the public needs to be aware of.
A company like Google though will never delete their data despite what they might say. What gets put on the internet stays on the internet and not even a court order can really make it go away. We’re sure that some people will benefit from this ruling. Even if the data is not gone forever, but at least off of search engines, it could still help some people move past a troubling time in their life. Only time will tell to see if the E.U. court’s decision will make a real difference.