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The Fatal Conceit of the '€œRight to be Forgotten'€

The Fatal Conceit of the '€œRight to be Forgotten'€

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Intelligence Squared hosted a lively debate last week over the so-called '€œRight to be Forgotten'€ embraced by European courts'€”which, as tech executive Andrew McLaughlin aptly noted, would be more honestly described as a '€œright to force others to forget.'€ A primary consequence of this '€œright'€ thus far has been that citizens are entitled to demand that search engines like Google censor the results that are returned for a search on the person'€™s name, provided those results are '€œinadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant.'€ In other words, if you'€™re unhappy that an unflattering item'€”such as a news story'€”shows up as a prominent result for your name, you can declare it '€œirrelevant'€ even if entirely truthful and ask Google to stop showing it as a result for such searches, with ultimate recourse to the courts if the company refuses. Within two months of the ruling establishing the '€œright,'€ the company received more than 70,000 such requests.