EJ Dalius Giving

Right to Be Forgotten

As a US Citizen, Can the “Right to Be Forgotten” Help Restore My Online Reputation?

As a component of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, the Right to Be Forgotten has provided legal protection by allowing individuals to request that their name and personal information be removed from search engine results since 2006.

However, this law applies only in some circumstances.

When Does the Right to Be Forgotten Apply?

The Right to Be Forgotten enables individuals to get their personal data erased online if:

  • The information is inaccurate, irrelevant, inadequate, or no longer necessary.
  • They withdraw their consent to publish those details on the internet.
  • They have an objection to processing that data.
  • Their personal information was processed by an organization unlawfully.

Even after this criterion is met, each case is reviewed thoroughly to maintain a balance between the media’s freedom of expression and the public right to know.

While there’s no guarantee that the request will be granted to an individual, it’s worth a try for people trying to restore their online reputation.

Of course, the Right to Be Forgotten is not a perfect solution either. It may not be able to remove all information about a person from the internet. Plus, some of the removed details could be reinstated later.

However, it’s still worth considering for the sake of one’s online reputation. For example, a victim of online harassment or an individual whose personal details are leaked without their consent may be able to use the Right to Be Forgotten to have that information removed from the internet. This could help them regain control of their online presence and rebuild their reputation.

How Does It Work?

Any person that thinks the Right to be Forgotten could help them restore their online reputation should contact a qualified internet law attorney.

These professionals help understand the law and its application to a particular situation. Additionally, they can help navigate the process of having information removed from the internet.

Can US Citizens Use the Right to Be Forgotten to Restore Online Reputation?

As a US citizen, you can’t exercise the Right to Be Forgotten to preserve your image on the internet because it only applies to European Union and Argentina citizens. The US law does NOT support it.

In fact, no hard and fast legislations or regulations allow Americans to request to be “forgotten” and protect their privacy online as a human right. This is despite the fact the majority of people in the US strongly support the Right to Be Forgotten.   

This means a negative mention in your credit report (like a late payment) from decades ago will always be held against you when you, let’s say, try to get a mortgage. This is despite the Fair Credit Reporting Act that requires credit reporting bureaus to remove adverse information from credit reports after specific timeframes elapse.

Similarly, if you start over after declaring bankruptcy, a bank’s loan officer can read all about it by scanning online databases, even though the law permits you to have all records of the default removed.

Not to forget, prospective employers can also discover “purged” information regarding a minor offense with a Google search on your name, even though the law allows young people to keep such crimes off the permanent records.

Final Thoughts

The US doesn’t allow its citizens to enjoy the Right to Be Forgotten. In contrast, hundreds of millions of people in the European Union and Argentina have benefited from it for years.

Congress must realize that Americans need and deserve the Right to Be Forgotten.