Right to be forgotten
In News: A government-appointed panel on the data protection law has pointed to the need to have a balanced approach on right to be forgotten.
Recommendation by: Justice BN Srikrishna Committee
- The appropriateness of a right to be forgotten in specific circumstances would require that the right to privacy be balanced with the freedom of speech
- It called right to confirmation, access and correction to be included in the data protection law.
- Proposed Data Protection Authority (DPA) to deal with such complaints
So what is the right to be forgotten?
It refers to the ability of individuals to limit, de-link, delete, or correct the disclosure of personal information on the internet that is misleading, embarrassing, irrelevant, or outdated. Such disclosure, may or may not be a consequence of unlawful processing by the data fiduciary.
As it was envisioned in the European Union (EU) after a landmark 2014 ruling by the European Court of Justice, the right to be forgotten allows a person to demand that links to online information about them be removed from search engine results if the data are outdated or irrelevant.
India: In a recent case, the Karnataka High Court had upheld the right to be forgotten in a petition filed by a woman saying an internet search should not reflect her name in a previous criminal order passed by it.
India and Right to be Forgotten
- First step really as far as this issue is concerned to get the law in place first and only then will everything else fall into place – the pieces will come together. There should not only be a right to be forgotten but there should be a right to get the data deleted. The search engines might not show results but one should have the right to object for the processing of data. The right to get the data deleted needs to be put in place.
- There is a need to have enabling provisions in the law to go through this process which will make the process more simplified; free of lengthy procedures and time taking and money minting legal help.
- This right should not be confused with two things:
- It shouldn’t be confused with the ability to take down illegal data which already exists – anything that is obscene or definitely can already be taken down
- The right to be forgotten should be interpreted narrowly so that it doesn’t become a shortcut to defamation law. Defamation is used in India to stifle free speech from powerful interests and by people who have unlimited funds.
Connecting the Dots:
- In today’s age of cloud computing is it truly possible to implement the Right to be forgotten clause in the Srikrishna committee’s draft data protection bill? Discuss.