Right to Be Forgotten

Definition & Meaning:

The Right to Be Forgotten is a legal concept that allows individuals to request the removal of their personal information from online platforms, search engines, or other digital sources.

It enables individuals to have outdated, irrelevant, or inaccurate information about them removed from public view, particularly when such information is no longer relevant or necessary.

You have the Right to Be Forgotten to maintain control over your online reputation and privacy by removing unwanted or harmful information from search results or online databases.

For example, suppose an individual’s name is associated with a past legal issue or embarrassing incident that is no longer relevant to their current circumstances.

In that case, they may request search engines to delist links containing that information from search results.

Similarly, if a social media platform displays outdated or inaccurate personal information, such as old contact details or photos, the individual may request the platform to remove or update that information.

The Right to Be Forgotten is closely related to the concept of data protection and privacy rights, particularly in the context of online data processing and digital privacy.

It is recognized in various jurisdictions around the world, with some countries enacting specific laws or regulations to codify and enforce this right.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) includes provisions that encourage individuals to request the erasure of their personal data under certain circumstances.

To exercise the Right to Be Forgotten, individuals typically need to submit a formal request to the relevant data controller, such as an online platform or search engine operator.

This request should include details about the specific information they want to be removed and the reasons for the request.

Upon receiving a valid request, the data controller is obligated to assess the request and determine whether it meets the legal criteria for removal.

The Right to Be Forgotten is not absolute and may be subject to limitations and exceptions, particularly when it conflicts with other fundamental rights or legal obligations, such as freedom of expression or public interest.

Data controllers must balance the individual’s right to privacy with other competing interests, taking into account factors such as the nature of the information, its relevance, and the individual’s public profile.