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The Limits of Our ‘Right to be Forgotten’

Search engines such as Google are an integral part of our lives. Access to the internet provides students with access to a treasure trove of information. However, because of the internet your digital footprint is always visible, which is why the European Union utilizes the “right to be forgotten.”

What is the right to be forgotten? Google, along with many other search engines, are extremely efficient and extremely good at searching the internet to find and store data. Even if websites are taken offline, a cache, or data, is still kept on file. This is good for making the internet as useful as possible. With the right to be forgotten if there is information online that you would rather keep private, you can contact search engine to remove said data. This data is not actually being deleted from the internet, but the data becomes not as accessible through the use of certain search engines and is far less likely to pop up.

One individual known as Mr. Gonzalez, sold a property when he was struggling financially, and whenever he was googled the article relating to the sale popped up. For Mr. Gonzalez this information did not define him, but it was a source of humiliation for himself. Stories like his led to the implementation of the “right to be forgotten” across the European Union.

However, after a landmark court ruling on September 24, new limits have been put in place in order to limit the European Union’s ability to control and limit policies outside of the 28 countries under its jurisdiction. In the future, it is still vitally important for students to be aware of their digital footprint and the effect it may one day have on their future.