Is the Right to be Forgotten Law Ever Coming to America?

By Aaron Minc | Content Removal

Dec 21
Will the Right to be Forgotten come to America?

It is a well-known fact that the things that you post online or what other people post about you can be found. Many people are cautious about what they post on their social media sites and review what types of messages they are tagged in. However, even the most careful person can have things posted online that they do not want the world to see.

Most people know that even if you have a post or photo removed from a particular site, it does not mean that the photo or post is deleted from the Internet. This can be a problem for people who maybe want to be invisible from the internet or simply want to be forgotten for something in their past.

While currently there is no easy way for you to be removed from the Internet in the United States, the European Union has enacted a series of laws that allow people to be removed from popular search engines such as Google. However, many people have asked or wondered if this right to be forgotten law will make it way to the United States.

What is the “Right to be Forgotten” Law?

It is easy to think that people living in the European Union lead very different lives than we do in the United States. To an extent, that may be true, however, people living in any of the 28 member states of the European Union share a very similar experience when they are on the internet.

Most if not all of these countries have access to popular websites such as Facebook, Reddit, and Youtube. Additionally, people living in the European Union also have popular search engines such as Google and Bing.

While these sites might be edited to conform to the language and other specific laws in place, people living in the European Union experience many of the same headaches that Americans Will Europe's Right to Be Forgotten Ruling Ever Come to America? experience if they have been tagged in a photo or find their name on a defamatory website.

A May 2014 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union found that European law gives people the right to ask search engines like Google to remove results for queries which include their name.  Under the “Right to be Forgotten” law, individuals have the right – under certain conditions – to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them.

However, the Court of Justice for the European Union did not make this an absolute right to be forgotten. This law only applied when the personal information that the person is seeking to have removed from the Internet is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive for the purposes of data processing.

What this means is that while a post may remain on the Internet itself it will not show up when you run the person’s name through a search engine.

Will the Right to be Forgotten Ruling Come to the United States?

In July of 2015, a consumer rights organization, Consumer Watchdog filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission in an attempt to bring a similar law to the United States.  The group argued that such a law would allow people to regain a certain level of privacy they may have lost because of being on the internet.

Not surprisingly one survey by Adweek found that 9 out of 10 Americans want some form of the right to be forgotten that those living in any one of the 18 European Union member states currently enjoy. However, there are some skeptics who wonder if such a law could survive in the United States.

Some critics of the proposed law wonder how it would infringe on free speech and freedom of expression that many Americans take advantage of on a daily basis.  It is unclear how the FTC will respond or if such a law would survive a legal battle in the United States.

An Internet Defamation Lawyer Can Work to Remove Content from Sites and Search Engines

If you are facing online attack and defamation, you may simply want the content removed and for the attacks to stop. In other circumstances, you may want to hold the individual poster accountable for his or her damaging statements or conduct.

The Internet defamation removal lawyers of Meyers, Roman Friedberg & Lewis LPA  can fight to accomplish your goals regarding online defamation. If you’ve been attacked, we can work to remove the content and, if necessary, identify your attacker. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact us at 216-373-7706 or schedule a meeting online.

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