Online privacy law isn't the same around the world. Where you are determines whether you have the "right to be forgotten."

Online privacy law isn't the same around the world. Where you are determines whether you have the "right to be forgotten."

The “right to be forgotten” embodies the idea that individuals can request to have certain data deleted so third parties cannot trace them.

It’s law in many countries, but not in the U.S.

From The New York Times:

The right to be forgotten has been at the center of a debate about balancing privacy and free speech in the internet age. In Europe, both principles are written into the European Union Constitution.

Supporters say the policy is a much-needed legal tool for people, particularly those outside the public eye, to have personal information removed.

But critics have argued that its reach has broadened over time and that countries within the European Union are interpreting it differently. They point to examples of the rule’s being used to target news articles. The policy is expanding into areas it wasn’t intended, they add, and is being abused to keep information out of the public domain.

Google has successfully argued in court that the rule does not apply globally.

There’s some really embarrassing stuff out there: bad usernames, unflattering photos. The podcast Reply All got into some of those cases.

But for some, it’s way more personal. Things like criminal records and revenge porn might seriously affect future job prospects or other major life plans.

Some American newsrooms, like, are now offering readers ways to change — or erase — what’s previously been published about them.

We unpack the rights and wrongs of making what’s public, private.

Produced by Avery Kleinman.


  • Emma Llansó Director, Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology; @ellanso
  • Adam Satariano Europe technology correspondent, The New York Times; @satariano
  • Chris Quinn Editor,; @ChrisQuinnOhio
  • Sharyn Rothstein Playwright, "Right To Be Forgotten"

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