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2016-03-03 10:39:30
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The right to be forgotten vs. the right to know
 

It's an issue that came to the fore a couple of years ago when a man won the right to have his personal information removed from Google's search results. Now, a South Korean government body has announced that it is putting together an official set of guidelines on the issue and how one can protect this right. Right to be forgotten versus the public's right know: our News Feature tonight with Kwon Jang-ho. The internet. It's a never ending and ever expanding digital space where information can be not only stored indefinitely, but also retrieved from anywhere and by anyone in the world. For example, I did a quick search for my name to see what came up.
"Just by typing my name, information about myself, including pictures and some social media accounts, pop up right away. But what if I want to block or restrict such access? That’s what the right to be forgotten is about, and it's a rising issue in the global community."
The right to be forgotten is a concept that questions whether an individual has the right to remove personal information and content from the internet. It became a global issue in 2010, when Mario Costeja Gonzalez lodged a legal complaint against Google to remove search results about an old auction notice for his repossessed home. In 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled in his favor, ordering Google to remove any links to articles related to the auction notice. Since then, the number of people around the world who are looking to erase their digital histories has risen considerably.

In Korea, a new business service called "digital laundry" has hit the market. It removes unwanted personal content from the web.

 

Forget Me is another such company, and they receive dozens of calls a day.

"Whether they themselves put up the content or whether someone else did, the clients come to us looking to have that part of their past erased from the internet. Recently, there has been a wave of people who have had their profile pictures stolen from social media sites and used elsewhere in inappropriate ways."

A key component to the right to be forgotten is protection from potentially damaging information.

 

 

"Private footage of my partner and I having sex was uploaded without my permission. I tried to get it taken down, but it keeps coming up again and again."

"Years ago, I posted a malicious comment on a website. Potential employers have found it, and it's made it hard for me to get a job."

When anyone can be subject to damaging material on the internet, what does the public think about the right to be forgotten?

 

 

"Naked or indecent photos definitely need to be protected by means of the right to be forgotten."

"In my opinion, the way people use the internet in Korea can be quite naive. If the right to be forgotten law is passed right away, then I think it could cause a lot of controversy."

In Japan, cases have already started going to court. It was recently discovered that in December a Japanese court ruled in favor of a man who was demanding Google remove three-year-old news reports of his arrest in connection to child prostitution and pornography. The judge concluded that one's right to be forgotten should be recognized after the passage of time, and criminals are entitled to have their private lives respected and their rehabilitation uninterrupted. In Korea, a government body, the Korea Communications Commission, has said it will introduce guidelines this year outlining the circumstances in which people can claim the right to be forgotten. But cases like the one in Japan are expected to spark national debate.
"So far, no specific regulations have been drawn up. It's a new field of debate, so we will have to take examples from abroad and previous legal precedents to put together new regulations."

"Fair accusations against an individual, plain criticism against the government -- there's always the risk that this kind of content can also be targeted and erased arbitrarily. If that happens, then journalistic freedom and freedom of expression will be affected."

The KCC says the guidelines will not ask the press to censor any content, but it will make portal sites and search engines remove unwanted information, similar to the kind in the Gonzales vs. Google case.

 


How to strike that balance between an individual's right to be forgotten versus the public's right to know will require careful consideration and it's something that individual countries and the global community will have to solve together.

 

작성자: Kwon Jang-ho, Arirang News


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