The right to be forgotten

That’s the colorful term in Europe for the right to eliminate unwanted information about yourself on the Web. The European Court of Justice enforced that right Tuesday, holding that a Spanish data privacy authority acted properly to compel Google to remove from its search results links to old articles about a Spanish lawyer’s debt problems.

Jonathan Zittrian criticizes the ECJ’s ruling as being both “too broad” and “curiously narrow” because it could censor the republication of public records and because it does not force the newspaper that Google linked to do take down its own pages. But that’s because the ECJ endorsed a balancing test–your privacy interest versus the public’s interest. It sensibly recognized that people get their information about others by using search engines, not usually by looking back through newspaper websites. Search engines are a greater threat to one’s privacy, while newspapers shouldn’t be forced to respond to complaints about reports when they are just doing their job.

My argument can be found on Slate.