The right to be forgotten versus the right to know

July 26, 2016 2:15 - 3:30 pm


Which matters most – an individual’s right to be forgotten or society’s right to know about their past? For example, if a murderer or paedophile serves a prison sentence, why should his or her neighbours be aware? Who should decide if a request for delisting and deletion of information, videos or photographs from a publicly available database is valid? Does it risk decreasing the quality of the Internet through censorship or even rewriting history? Does it matter where the website is based or the data stored? Views differ. Whereas Europe’s data protection laws are intended to prevent the indiscriminate release of potentially damaging, private information about individuals, the US First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech and the right to know. This round-table brings together experts from industry, law and media to discuss the implications of the European Court of Justice ruling in 2014 – that individuals have the right to ask Google and other search engines to remove links to content about them that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant.” Implications range from key ethical challenges to the future of social media business and of the Trans-Atlantic Trade Agreement. The overriding question is if retaining a private life is even possible and can a global judicial framework ever be made to work?

This session is co-organised by Clive Cookson, Financial Times and Aidan Gilligan, SciCom - Making Sense of Science.

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