In light of comments made by digital expert Martha Lane Fox, this week Igniyte asks whether teenagers should have an automatic right to be forgotten.

Google Inundated with Thousands of Right to be Forgotten Requests

Ever since May, when the EU Court of Justice gave people permission to request that old and irrelevant information be removed about them from search engines, the right to be forgotten has gripped the popular imagination. Google has been inundated with thousands of requests.

Google’s new Transparency Report has shown that the right to be forgotten hasn’t been as successful as many thought it would be. That’s why it’s so intriguing that founder and David Cameron’s former digital champion, Martha Lane Fox, has made this suggestion.

Scratch Everything You Did Online Pre-18

According to the Guardian, she talked about the issue whilst explaining why she believes that voting should be mandatory and online.  Turning her attention to teenagers, she argued that it seems “a pretty good idea” that people should be able to “scratch everything you did online pre-18.”

She went on to say that “we should be able to create these safe places for kids to be OK and for it not be okay for that to then come back to haunt you at a later date,” and “that feels quite urgent and important and manageable.”

A Very Fine Line

Yet she went on to express more ambivalent feelings towards the ‘right to be forgotten’ in general: “On the one hand of course there are people’s very personal messy break-ups and divorces.

“But the other argument is where somebody might want to go into politics but hasn’t announced it yet and might want to take off everything about their lives previously, there might have been some kind of terrible corruption in the past, it really is a fine line. It’s not black and white.”

Do We Draw the Line at 18?

It’s that fine line that’s the crux of the matter. Where do we draw it when it comes to the right to be forgotten? Martha Lane Fox makes an eloquent case for drawing it at the age of 18. As Igniyte have seen, online activity pre-18 has the ability to come back to haunt you in later years, and impact your personal online reputation.

For more information about ‘right to be forgotten’ contact us here for a confidential discussion.

Download Igniyte’s Guide to Managing Your Teenager’s Personal Information Online.

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