Right To Be Forgotten
- The Delhi High Court is all set to hear a doctor’s plea for enforcement of his ‘Right to be Forgotten’.
About the Right To Be Forgotten
- The “Right to be Forgotten” is the right to remove or erase content so that it’s not accessible to the public at large.
- It empowers an individual to have information in the form of news, video, or photographs deleted from internet records so it doesn’t show up through search engines, like Google in the present case.
Origin of the Right To Be Forgotten
- The concept of the Right to be Forgotten has its origins in European data protection law 1995 which gave individuals the right to request the erasure of their personal data under certain circumstances.
- However, this right was limited to data held by data controllers, and did not apply to data that had been made public.
- In 2014, the European Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling in the case of Google Spain v. AEPD and Mario Costeja González, which recognized the Right to be Forgotten as a legal right in the EU.
- The court held that individuals have the right to request the removal of search engine links to information that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed.”
Law on the Right to be Forgotten
- According to Section 43A of the Information Technology Act of 2000, organizations that have confidential personal data but fail to keep it secure enough to prevent loss or wrongful gain to anyone may be required to make compensation to the victim.
- The IT Rules, 2021 do not include this right; however, they do provide a procedure for submitting complaints with the designated Grievance Officer in order to have content containing personal information about a complainant removed from the internet.
Court on the Right to be forgotten
- Right to be forgotten is not recognised by a law or a statute in India explicitly.
- K.S.Puttaswamy vs Union of India: The courts have held that the Right to be forgotten is inherent to an individual’s Right to Privacy under Article 21.
- In this case, a nine-judge panel, including CJI Chandrachud, cited a 2016 European Union Regulation that recognised “the right to be forgotten,” or an individual’s right to have personal information removed from a system when “he is no longer desirous of his personal data being processed or kept.”
- The Supreme court also recognized that the right to be forgotten can be restricted by the right to freedom of expression and information or “for compliance with legal obligations”, or for the performance of tasks in the public interest.
- The Parliament and the Supreme Court should conduct a thorough examination of RTBF and devise a mechanism for balancing the conflicting rights to privacy and freedom of expression.
- In this digital era, data is a valuable resource that should not be unregulated. In this context, the moment has come for India to implement a strong data protection regime.