RightsCon 2016: The Right to be Forgotten: Remembering Freedom of Expression

March 30, 2016 10:30 am to 11:45 am
What and whom should the Internet forget? Who should decide? Can search engines be trusted as the guardians and censors of the online world? How are individual interests best protected on the internet? How can we strike the balance between privacy and freedom of expression online? Has privacy won the draw, in the internet information age?

Last year, the Court of Justice of the European Union sent shockwaves across the world by holding that individuals had a right to request Google and other search engines to delist links to certain results generated by a search for their name. In February, an Advisory Council set up by Google to give recommendations on implementation of the judgment, concluded that de-listings should be limited to EU domains, and that publishers and webmasters should be notified when their content is delisted. More recently, however, Google announced that it would de-list search results from all domains accessed from the EU. These remain highly contentious issues with European institutions and among civil society groups . 

Meanwhile, the EU recently adopted the General Data Protection Regulation which arguably goes beyond the Google Spain ruling and could have significant implications for freedom of expression in Europe and beyond. From South Korea to Russia, Mexico or Brazil, several countries have adopted or are looking to adopt legislation that would enshrine a ‘right to be forgotten’. 

Yet the contours of this ‘right’ and what it entails remain elusive. Among other things, there are disagreements as to whether it involves ‘erasure’ or mere de-listing, whether its scope should include the protection of public information, and whether data subject should be required to establish substantial harm to their right to private life when making a ‘RTBF’ request. It is therefore more important than ever to set out the parameters of the ‘right to be forgotten’ and how to properly balance it with freedom of expression. 

Based on Open Net Korea and ARTICLE 19’s policy work on this issue, the participants in this workshop will debate basic principles on how to achieve this balance. In particular, the participants will seek to address the following questions:

- Should we talk about a ‘right to erasure’, ‘right to be de-listed or de-indexed’ or the ‘right to be forgotten’?

- Should public information fall within the ambit of a ‘right to be forgotten’? How can we adequately protect freedom of expression in data protection legislation?

- Should data subjects be required to establish substantial harm in ‘RTBF’ requests?

- Should content producers be notified of a ‘RTBF’ request? Should they be given a right of appeal? How else could free expression interests be represented before data protection authorities?

- Are data protection authorities or equivalent best placed to make these assessments? How should they be composed in order to properly take into account free expression concerns? 



Barbora Bukovska

Senior Director for Law & Policy, ARTICLE 19


Senior Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19
Gabrielle is Senior Legal Officer at ARTICLE 19, an international free speech organisation based in London. She has been leading the organisation's work on internet policy issues since 2011. She is a member of the UK Multistakeholder Advisory Group on Internet Governance (MAGIG) and an independent expert attached to the Council of Europe committee on Cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet Freedoms. Prior to ARTICLE 19, Gabrielle... Read More →
Juan Carlos Lara

Content Director, Derechos Digitales Chile


Frane Maroevic

Director of the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, OSCE


K.S. Park

Co-Founder/ Professor, Open Net Korea/ Korea University Law School

Internet law, freedom of speech, privacy, Korean judiciary, net neutrality, film industry, antitrust, open government, copyright | Successful impact litigations - striking down Internet real-name law, "false news" crime, and Internet election regulation; holding telcos liable for data disclosure secrecy; holding a copyright society for bad faith takedown notice; and defending dissident bloggers from criminal defamation and insult laws and... Read More →

Pranesh Prakash

Policy Director, Centre for Internet and Society

Pranesh Prakash is a Policy Director at — and was part of the founding team of — the Centre for Internet and Society, a Bangalore-based non-profit that engages in research and policy advocacy. He is also the Legal Lead at Creative Commons India and an Affiliated Fellow at the Yale Law School's Information Society Project (formerly an A2K Fellow there), and has been on the Executive Committee of the NCUC at ICANN. In 2014 he was selected by... Read More →



Mission Bay Conference Center San Francisco, CA
Related Terms: 

Add new comment