Is the Right to be Forgotten a Human Right?

It can be a thin line between censorship and human rights – at least, according to the opinions of online Americans and British Internet users in a recent survey about the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ ruling.

The ‘Right to be Forgotten’ ruling stipulates that “individuals have the right, under certain conditions, to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them. This applies where the information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the purposes of the data processing.”

According to a new survey by TrustArc, 69% of American online adults say that the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ is a human right, while slightly fewer British Internet users – 64%, say the same.

The survey showed feelings of American Internet users compared with British Internet users are slightly different when it comes to the practicality of the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ – while 24% of British Internet users think the ruling is not practical, only 16% of Americans say the same.

An even greater difference is how people in Britain feel about the impact of the ruling on censorship. When asked if they think the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ ruling allows censorship, 44% of British online adults said “yes,” while only 29% of Americans felt the same.

However, the results were similar regarding questions about what type of information they would request to be removed from company databases. 52% of Americans and 55% in Britain said they would request their phone number removed, followed by their address (41% of Americans, 34% of British Internet users).