The digital age has brought numerous benefits along with new challenges. When it comes to privacy and data protection, one of these challenges is the concept of the “Right to be Forgotten”.
The Right to be Forgotten is a legal concept that grants individuals the ability to request removal of personal information from search engines and other sources of information if it is outdated, irrelevant or if its continued availability causes unwarned harm to the individuals. In the digital age with vast amounts of personal information available online, it is becoming increasingly difficult for individuals to control information that is available about them. In many cases, this information can have serious consequences for an individual’s reputation, privacy and even employment prospects.
The concept of “Right to be Forgotten” was first introduced by the European’s Union general data protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016 and has since been recognized by many countries around the world. By allowing the right to request the removal of outdated or irreverent information, the right to be Forgotten helps to balance the right to free expression and privacy. The Right to be Forgotten is also known as The Right to Erasure.
The Right to be Forgotten is important because personal information that is publicly available on the internet can have a significant impact on an individual’s privacy and reputation. For example, negative news or sensitive personal information that is no longer relevant or accurate can remain available in search engines for years, affecting an individual’s ability to get employment, obtain credit, or lead a normal life.
However, the Right to be Forgotten is not an absolute right and it must be balanced against other important rights such as the ‘right to freedom of expression’ and the ‘right to information’. It means not all information that is requested to be removed will get removed. To exercise the Right to be Forgotten, individuals must make a request to relevant data controller of the search engine to have their information removed. The data controller or search engine must then access the request and determine whether the information should be removed in accordance with applicable privacy laws and regulations.
The balance between privacy rights and freedom of speech and information has led to a number of legal challenges and debates over the Right to be Forgotten.
Exercising the Right to be Forgotten is a straightforward process, but it can vary depending on the country and the source of the information. In general, individuals must make a request to the search engine or other source of information providing evidence to support their claim that the information is outdated, irrelevant or causing them harm.
Challenges on The Right to be Forgotten
The Right to be Forgotten is particularly relevant in the context of search engines, where personal information can persist indefinitely and be easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. It is not explicitly stated in any international human rights treaties, but it has been recognized as a derivative of the right to privacy and data protection. This right has been recognized by the GDPR and has also been considered by courts and privacy regulators around the world.
However, implementation of the Right to be Forgotten has proven to be challenging, particularly in the context of search engines. On the one hand, search engines argue that they are merely indexing publicly available information and that removing such information would infringe upon the right to free speech and access to information. On the other hand, privacy advocates argue that the persistent and easily accessible nature of search engine results can have significant impacts on an individual’s privacy and reputation.
The balance between privacy rights and freedom of speech and information has led to a number of legal challenges and debates over the Right to be Forgotten. For example, in 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that individuals had the right to request the removal of personal information from search engine results, but this ruling has faced criticism from free speech advocates and has been subject to various limitations and exceptions.
As technology continues to advance and personal information becomes increasingly accessible online, it is crucial that individuals have the ability to control the information that is available about them on the internet. The right to be forgotten is a human right that is increasingly relevant in the digital age. While its implementation has proven to be challenging, it remains a crucial aspect of privacy and data protection that must be considered and protected in the context of the internet and technology.
Right to be Forgotten in the context of Nepal
The Right to be Forgotten, currently, is only recognized in the European Union. However, the concept has received attention and interest from other countries around the world. Some countries such as Argentina and Canada and somehow India also have begun to explore the possibility of implementing similar laws.
There is no formal legislation in Nepal yet that scrutinizes the need for the Right to be Forgotten. Nevertheless, in our neighboring country, there has been table talk on Right to be Forgotten in the sense as the judicial precedent leads towards acceptance of the right. The government has recently tabled the personal data protection bill.
In the context of Nepal, only fundamental law as Right to privacy has been enlightened. The Right to be Forgotten doesn’t seem to have been practiced neither in judicial precedent nor in parliament discussion. But, in future there is a high chance it might be both enacted and implemented as the present situation indicates that Right to be Forgotten may be introduced as fundamental law in our constitution in coming years.
The “Right to be Forgotten” is not a legally recognized concept in Nepal. However, the country has various laws that protect personal data and privacy, such as the “Electronic Transactions Act of 2008” and the ‘Consumer Protection Act of 2018”. It’s possible that in certain cases, individuals may be able to request the removal of personal information from online sources, but this would likely need to be dealt on a case-by-case basis and would depend on the specific circumstances involved.
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