• the right to be forgotten 2

What we all fight for is to accomplish something in life in order to be remembered, with our achievements, creations, contributions to the society. At the same time we are fighting for staying in world’s collective memory, many of us are craving for a fresh start, for an opportunity  for a second  chance.  The European union’s response is the proclaiming of the “right to be forgotten”. EU is motivating this newly established right with the need of protection of privacy. Jeffrey Rosen is saying “the right to be forgotten addresses an urgent problem in the digital age: it is very hard to escape your past on the Internet ” which shows exactly that people are projecting this issue just in the online world. I  think that  we  should  not limit our  reflections on the  subject  by transposing this  right  only to the digital environment.   Eric Posner says “ Once information is online, it can be forever instantly accessible through search engines. No need to dig through archives or court records for the record of Costeja’s debt”. This clearly shows that Internet is not  the problem, it is not the net  which is  menacing the  right of privacy , it just makes  things  faster. The  information  would still exist on paper based  records  just  it  would not  be  so  easily   accessible. I find it rather  unfair to  blame  Internet  for  just  speeding  up  the process  of  search.

At the beginning  I was  very  controversial  about  whether  I  am more a  supporter  of the  European thesis  regarding the issue or the  American one. On one  hand a situation like  one  described at the  beginning of “the Solace of oblivion” by Jeffrey Toobin is really  something  we all would like to prevent as  horrible and  unjust. On the other hand, the demand of the two German killers demanding anonymity and suing Wikipedia’s, I  find equally  unjust.

I think there are  really  different aspects  of this  “right to be forgotten” which are still not well defined and speared neither  by the legislation nor  by the jurisprudence. I very much like the three categories of this right as described by Peter Fleischer. When it is about a personal information disclosed by someone, this person should  be  the  one able  to take it out of the  public  space  the same way he put it there – the first category. But  once this  information, fact or  action, has affected and interacted with the existence of  someone  else, it  has  become  part  of his  “world”  already ,  as I believe is the case with the German killers. We  should  be mastering  our own lives but  not  those of other  people  and  if  through  our  actions  we  had become  in someway  part  of someone else’s existence  it  would be unfair  to dispose  of his life as well. There are many dark periods  in human’s history but it does not mean we should erase the names of the villains out of it.

The desire  for a clean start, where no one would know about crazy parties we had  as teenagers or personal tragedies , is  a  tempting option for everyone but  I  consider it  first  of  all,  impossible for execution and second  I do not agree  it is right  to be claimed. Even if  we  make  filter  in search engines and ban certain websites, we  would  just   use  the technological  capacity of the net  to restrict  the  information in it but  what  we are supposed to do with books and newspapers? Does it  mean  we  should  burn  them all  if we found in them such kind of violation of the right to be forgotten or it  is not  the  same  just  because they  could be  found  only  in libraries but not in Google ?

Second, in our lives  we  make  choices  every day, some of  them turn out  to be more important  than  others but  these  choices are defining  us and  make  us  what we  are and we  should be ready to face the  consequences of each and every one of them otherwise it is cheating. And to the question that  some people  ask, whether we are supposed  to bear the consequences.
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