Right to Be Forgotten: Forgiveness or Censorship?
The digital age has eternalized information that was once fleeting, and the Right to be Forgotten has gained traction in the EU. A controversial aspect of these rights is that truthful, newsworthy information residing online may be removed after a certain amount of time in an attempt to make the information private again.
Two compelling camps have arisen: Preservationists and Deletionists. Preservationists believe the web offers the most comprehensive history of humanity ever collected and feel a duty to protect digital legacies without censorship. Deletionists argue that the web must learn to forget in order to preserve vital societal values and that threats to the dignity and privacy of individuals will create an oppressive networked space.
The US, the land of opportunity, has not embraced the Right to be Forgotten, but should it? The First Amendment raises significant issues, but how does the value of protected information changes over time. Could privacy ever outweigh expression?
Jill Van Matre is the Associate Director of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s ATLAS Institute, where she teaches Law and Technology. She was previously a Research Fellow with the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, and has taught in CU’s Interdisciplinary Telecommunication Program. Jill is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law, and a member of the Colorado Bar Association. Prior to law school, she worked for Lucent Technologies and Microsoft Corporation.
Meg Leta Ambrose is a doctoral student in the ATLAS Technology, Media, and Society program at the University of Colorado. She earned her J.D. from the University of Illinois in 2008, where she focused on digital copyright issues in music. She is currently a graduate fellow with the University of Colorado Department of Computer Science and research assistant with the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado School of Law. Advised by Paul Ohm, her research investigates management of and rights in digital content, including comparative censorship and privacy law, information management and retrieval, reputation, and information lifecycles. Her dissertation addresses the social, legal, and technical issues surrounding the Right to be Forgotten.