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Right to be Forgotten |EXPLAINED|


Right to be Forgotten article: Relevance

  • GS 3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Right to be Forgotten: Context

  • Recently, Ashutosh Kaushik, who is an Indian actor has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court to remove his videos, photographs and articles etc. be removed from the internet citing his “Right to be Forgotten”.


Right to be forgotten case: Key points

  • Right to be forgotten under article 21: The petitioner maintains that “Right to be Forgotten” goes in sync with the “Right to Privacy”, which is an integral part of Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • The petitioner argues that his past mistakes have led to much psychological pain as the recorded photo/videos are available everywhere on the internet.
  • He also maintains that violation of right to be forgotten means violation of right to privacy, which is a fundamental right of an Indian citizen.


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Right to be forgotten meaning

  • The right to be forgotten is a right of an individual to have his/her personal information removed from publicly available resources such as search engines like google and social media platforms like twitter, facebook etc, on certain grounds.


Right to be forgotten: Why is it important?

  • The cases like the one of Ashutosh Kaushik forms a necessary ground for exercising his right as one’ past petty mistake should not haunt them.
  • It has become necessary today due to cases like revenge porn uploads.
  • The data, if not removed, lead to immense pressure on the person and might sometime lead to loss of reputation and isolation from the society.


Right to be forgotten: What the critics say?

  • The critics are also in favour of the right, but raises questions on its applicability and implementation as it is a very subjective issue. For example, what constitutes a personal data is itself a matter of debate.
  • Concerns are also raised on its possible conflict with right to freedom and expression.
  • People are also worried that these types of restrictive rights can lead to censorship and rewriting of history.


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Is right to privacy same as right to be forgotten?

  • Epistemologically, both are different. Right to privacy means information that is not publicly known where as right to be forgotten means removal of information that was publicly known at a certain time.


Right to be forgotten India

  • Following the petition by Ashutosh Kaushik, the Centre has also filed an affidavit before the Delhi High Court that the right to privacy also includes the “right to be forgotten”
  • Personal Data Protection Bill, an Indian legislation to protect citizen’s data, states that the “data principal (the person to whom the data is related) shall have the right to restrict or prevent the continuing disclosure of his personal data by a data fiduciary.
    • A data fiduciary means any person, including the State, a company, any juristic entity or any individual who alone or in conjunction with others determines the purpose and means of processing of personal data.
  • Although the draft bill gives some provisions under which a data principal can seek that his data be removed, his or her rights are subject to authorisation by the Data Protection Authority.


Right to be forgotten world

  • The Center for Internet and Society notes that the “right to be forgotten” gained prominence when the matter was referred to the Court of Justice of European Union (CJEC) in 2014 by a Spanish Court.
  • Then in 2018, in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (right to be forgotten GDPR), the right to be forgotten empowered individuals to ask organisations to delete their personal data.


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