A survey, suggesting American’s want to be forgotten online too, has led Igniyte to ask this week whether the right to be forgotten could work Stateside.
The Right to be Forgotten Isn’t Clear Cut
Ever since the May 2014 European ruling that established a right to request that old and irrelevant content about individuals be removed from search engines, Google has received thousands of requests from people who want to see items removed from search.
But the right to be forgotten hasn’t been as clear cut as most people thought it would be. Essentially, people have not really understood what type of information can be removed. As a result of the intricacies around removing content, even Google has had trouble interpreting the ruling, which is why they are currently touring Europe, to determine how the right to be forgotten should be implemented.
Some Americans Want Right to be Forgotten
Nevertheless, it seems the US has seen the value in the right to be forgotten, as a new survey of 500 Internet users by Austin, Texas-based company Software Advice, has shown that nearly two thirds of respondents would like to have the right.
Specifically, the survey concluded that 61% believe it is necessary to have some version of the right to be forgotten. Meanwhile, 39% said they want a similar type of right to be forgotten as the one in Europe; without restrictions. Finally, 47% of respondents said that they see irrelevant or outdated search results as having an impact on online reputation.
Americans and Europeans View the Right to be Forgotten Very Differently
This leads us to ask, considering the differing nature of the European and American online climate, would the right to be forgotten work in the United States? This is a matter the company’s IT researcher, Daniel Humphries, shed some light on.
Humphries suggested that “the right to be forgotten is definitely thinkable in the U.S.,” but “whether many Americans would be satisfied with a sweeping, European-style ruling is another, very different question.”
Humphries then went on to explain why it’s a different question, arguing that “it’s often said that Europeans and Americans view a right, such as the right to be forgotten, very differently.” He elaborated by saying that “Americans place a higher value on the public’s right to know, while Europeans value privacy, (suggesting that) this kind of thing would be somehow unthinkable stateside.”
The Right to be Forgotten could work in the US
So this ultimately leads us to conclude that the right to be forgotten could work in the US. However, the country’s heightened emphasis on the public’s need to know, could make it even more problematic in America than it has been in Europe. That is why although it could work, it is unlikely the right to be forgotten will ever make it across the Atlantic.