EU demanding your “right to be forgotten”

Shades of Eric Shmidt’s deniable childhoods in the news that the European Commission wants to enshrine the right of every citizen to be “forgotten” by the titans of the web, should they so choose. Take it away, Ars Technica:

As part of its newly outlined data protection reform strategy, the EU says it believes individuals have a “right to be forgotten.” That is, people should be able to give informed consent to every site or service that processes their data, and they should also have the right to ask for all of their data to be deleted. If companies don’t comply, the EU wants citizens to be able to sue.

“The protection of personal data is a fundamental right. We need clear and consistent data protection rules,” EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said in a statement.


The new guidelines focus on more than just the right to be forgotten—the EU wants to cover most aspects of an individual’s personal data and how it can be used. For example, rules for how someone’s personal information can be used in a police or criminal justice setting will be changed, as well as how citizens can securely transfer their data to places outside the EU.

A laudable sentiment, but one which I rather suspect will be impossible to enforce in any realistic way. But hey, at least the right to sue will keep all those poor starving lawyers in work, right?