The right to be forgotten?

Blog Author: Aaron Smith | June 24th, 2014

 

A European legal precedent has now compelled Google to offer the ability to have information removed from its search indexes. Much of the information is perfectly valid and true, however a Spanish man has successfully argued that some of his past poor financial decisions have the right to be removed from the search engine so they don’t bias his future endeavours.

The case has raised some decisive debate about the ‘right to be forgotten’ and whether it does in fact really exist? One one hand it is true to say that human memory provides the ability to remember most events, however it also holds true that having the information readily available via search is not something that is part of human memory.

Apart from this ethical question, the high profile nature of the case has brought it to the attention of many who now believe they also have the right to be forgotten and as such have petitioned Google to have their information removed from the search engine.

This result could create interesting situations for companies that retain information about vendors, customers and employees. Does the right to be forgotten also apply here? If it does how would that be handled? Just imagine how you would go about removing specific information from your business records? The guess is that would prove quite difficult.

This situation highlights the modern challenges that technology brings and how things you do online are retained forever. Also consider that all the information that you enter into free services like Facebook are not only retained potentially forever, they are owned by Facebook, and as part of the terms and conditions, usually provides Facebook permission to use your information in any way they desire to benefit their business.

Technology is challenging many things about the way we conduct business today. No matter what happens, your business will still need to conform to the laws of the land so always make sure you are aware of what these are, and especially trends like this one, that may impact your business.

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