Please, Delete Me: The EU Addresses Our Personal Right to be Forgotten

B. Ostergaard
B. Ostergaard

Summary Bullets:
•    The upcoming EU Privacy Directive aims at a moving target
•    Reviewing internal data management policies may be one good outcome
We all know that the Internet can come back to haunt us with personal information that we wish had been deleted a long time ago – from youthful debauchery and outdated purchasing habits to run-ins with the law. We also know that many Web sites storing this information show little interest in complying with such deletion requests from individuals. Given its commercial value, we also see that companies with such information are very loath to make it easy for individuals to move such information about themselves to other platforms. A third issue that needs to be addressed is the wide range of different national privacy policies that makes life difficult for companies storing personal data across many countries. Any new legislation must strike a critical balance between an individual’s right to privacy and what’s feasible (i.e., what can companies ‘reasonably’ do, what can authorities monitor and enforce, and how is privacy actually perceived by specific user communities – especially in social networks where users want to follow each others’ private lives). The legislation is clearly addressing a moving target and will be criticized severely, no matter how it shapes up. But retaining legislation that everyone agrees is obsolete is clearly not an option – so whatever comes out in the end – it will require a rethink across the industry. Continue reading “Please, Delete Me: The EU Addresses Our Personal Right to be Forgotten”