Right to be forgotten under continued scrutiny

Continuing the strong debate about the right to be forgotten (often termed delisting), France has referred the CNIL (the French data protection authority) vs Google (Alphabet) case to the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ), saying ‘With today’s decision, the Council of State believes that the scope of the right to be delisted poses several serious difficulties of the interpretation of European Union law.’ In 2014, the ECJ ruled that search engines must comply with the so-called right to be forgotten. There are differing global positions on the right to be forgotten, including calls to protect high tech Internet companies to opinions that this step will permit intervention in favor of ‘America’s leading internet companies — and freedom of speech on the internet’.  The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press notes that ‘Demands to delist search results globally, including links to news articles, pose a significant threat to media organizations and freedom of the press around the world. They also raise concern over the idea that the laws of any one country could supersede another’s on the Internet in a way that limits access to information’. In a practical example with subtle differences, the Karnataka HC upholds forcibly married woman’s right to be forgotten online, as in ‘a first-of-its-kind ruling, the High Court of Karnataka has allowed a person’s name to be deleted from its online records, including the digital order copy. Sowmya (name changed) was kidnapped and forcibly married’.