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The Right To Be Forgotten

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Of recent years, the right to be forgotten – or the right to erasure – has gained considerable momentum. It vests in people, the privilege of demanding for specific negative personal data or information from web archives and directories to be taken down. Assuming a person committed a reported crime in high school, and such a report keeps blocking their chances for the utilization of opportunities, -including job offers- when background checks are made, such a person can apply that such detail is taken down and forgotten forever. 

This modern class of rights came into limelight in 2014 and its place has been further cemented with its inclusion in the Recitals 65 and 66, as well as article 17 of Europe’s popular privacy regulation framework – the GDPR.

Due to buzzes about the global practicality of this class of right, its application has since been limited in scope to Europe. So, if you are an European citizen, you can apply in writing to data controllers such as Google and other popular search engines to request the erasure of such negative facts. Such a data controller is obligated to respond within a month.

However, as exciting as this right appears to be, there are some exceptions to the class of data or persons that it applies to. This is, of course, necessary in order to reduce errant misuse of this right by applicants.  

So, when does the right to be forgotten or right of erasure apply -as provided by the GDPR?

  • When the personal data has become unnecessary for the purpose of collection.
  • When an individual withdraws the consent with which the content was originally published
  • When the personal data has been processed or published unlawfully.

So, there you have it! If there’s a piece of information about you out there that have been limiting your choices or opportunities, you have the right to petition its removal. Essentially, you have the right to be forgotten!

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