The Right To Be Forgotten-Is It Really a Right?

Recently Google was ordered by the EU court to comply with all requests to remove content about individuals. Now there is a form available that concerned people can fill out and submit for any links, articles or content of any kind to be removed under these new laws. t the present the laws only apply toEuropean countries but even as we discuss this, there are many more countries undertaking the same course of action as Europe.

In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson discuss the ‘right to be forgotten’.


Ian: Do you have a right to be forgotten?

Andrew: I don’t know.

Ian: Yeah I think so. If somebody posts something online that I don’t like should I have a right to have that deleted, if I contact Google or Facebook or Bing or Yahoo?

Andrew: I think we do.

Ian: What if I post something about myself that I can delete and I do delete it but in the mean time other people have copied it and put it somewhere else online. Do I have the write for all the search engines to forget that or am I liable because I put up the photo or information in the first place? …A can of worms!

Andrew: Why are we talking about this?

Ian: We are talking about this…

Andrew: I was ready for some more Google bashing, but obviously we’re going to do some Google praising.

Ian: I’m going to feel sorry for Google about this, because this is very controversial. If you’ve been hiding under a rock since January basically this has been talked about at various ways.The main issue here is that in Europe this ‘right to be forgotten’ law has come in, or rather an expansion of the previous law that’s come in and it’s basically giving people a right to have information, whether it’s a photo or a piece of data or it’s news, to be potentially taken down if it’s defamatory, or if they regret putting it up there and now we’re getting to a point where it’s very very grey I suppose as to what you taken down what you put up.

Andrew: Yeah see to me, if somebody writes an article that is defamatory against you I think you have the right to actually get them to take it down. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant. However, like you said before if you put up some pictures of yourself that you may have taken when you were in your early twenties for example and might be a bit racey, and then it gets spread everywhere and you regret that decision well tough luck. The lesson there I think is never ever ever put up photos, write up articles or make comments that are anything you might regret later.

Ian: Well that’s the big thing you know we’ve been talking… since the internet began, about prevention, being vigilant with what you actually do post online. It’s been an education process and a pretty tough one. We’ve seen some of the most outstanding examples in regards to I guess bullying at schools and where people have unfortunately, you know because of it have made a terrible decision to end their life and that really put it on the radar as far as those sorts of things. So that obviously is something that is a very important thing to address and educate people about. However, we seem to have tipped the scale with this the other way now and we’re seeing you can almost delete… if you’ve got enough money and you’ve got the right lawyer, you can almost delete anything offline, in Europe anyway. Various different countries have different schools of thought on this.

Andrew: Well over in Europe now you don’t need a lawyer, you get Google to do it for you.

Ian: Yeah yes.

Andrew: I think that’s a great thing. You submit a form now…

Ian: Yeah which Google has put up, you submit a form to have that taken down and they’re obviously being forced to act on it.

Andrew: Yeah and I hope that it will be passed onto other countries as well and I mean it’s… I don’t know if Google’s going to step up to the plate and say well it’s not a bad thing let’s put it in place in other countries as well. I think something like America would be the ideal place, so many celebrities, so many people doing stupid things… no offence, but you if you’re a celebrity over there you’ve just got to look at somebody the wrong way and they put you on the front page!

Ian: Yes however we’ve seen this so many times where somebody’s doing a racey video and somebody else has put it up online and it hasn’t really been black and white about how that could be taken down about how that could be taken down or how easy that is to be taken down. If you do something in public it’s kind of your choice, you know it’s a very very grey area.

Andrew: It is, it is. If you’re a minor and stuff like that there’s no question it should be gone.

Ian: Well that’s the thing like anything previously that is obviously against the law offline is becoming talked about. You know victims names and criminals names whatever the case may be and if you want to get into the real nitty gritty detail there’s some great articles and we can put the links in the description below. Stanford Law Review which i’m holding here, have got a great summary of the main issues. It’s a pretty big developement.

Andrew: It’s huge!

Ian: One that can’t really be covered in one video so we’ll talk about this a lot more. I suppose different examples are going to come up and different precedence are going to have to be forthcoming.

Andrew: It’s one that can actually out a lot of online reputation management businesses out of business overnight.

Ian: That’s true too.

Andrew: You know you’re not going to need a company to help you make those things disappear you can do it yourself. Bang it’s gone!

Ian: That’s true that’s true. I think it’ll change the industry in that sense and Annabelle Crav actually had a great article on that last week which we’ll address in another video because it was very funny. I think that will just change things put will still put things up online themselves and that is a grey area as to whether that is something that can be taken down. Still this law doesn’t apply it’s strict form even though it’s on the agenda or it’s on the radar, it doesn’t apply to the strict radar in Australia, the UK or in America yet…

Andrew: Yet… Very serious topic there.

Ian:  Yes is it because they get up to more shenanigans in Europe or is it just…

Andrew: Nah I think shenanigans are worse in America than they are there.

Ian: I think there’s shenanigans all over the place.

Andrew: There is there is. Okay this thing needs to be forgotten.

Ian: This will not be forgotten this is very colourful.

Andrew: Why do I also get the pink straw?

Ian: Nah I don’t know that’s up to the barman…

Andrew: Ooops…

Ian: That barman might be insulted if you drop it. Look what the colour is. It’s just a rainbow concoction.

Andrew: Just a little tip, did you know if you take an aspo, one of those headache tablets that you dissolve in water. When you put it into water it dissolves really really quick, you put it in vinegar… very very slow and it won’t dissolve.

Ian: Wow i’ll have to have a chat to the guys in the lab about what they’re focusing their energies on.That wasn’t really on their task list today….

Andrew: Nah just to come up with this…

Ian:  That was just one of those lunch break things… Anyway speak soon and obviously lots and lots of different interesting developments happening so speak to you all soon.

Andrew: Bye.


Melbourne HQ

This is where the real work is done

+61 3 9813 5988

Visit us by appointment

4A Izett Street Street
Prahran, Victoria, 3181

Other Australian Cities

We travel a lot to meet cool people.

Make appointments with us to travel to your neck of the woods.

New California Office

Coming Soon!