UPDATE Tracing the right to be forgotten in the short history of data protection law: The “new clothes” of an old right

UPDATE:

The paper received the “Junior Scholar Award 2014”. “The junior scholar award is a new award at CPDP which is generously supported by Google. The winning paper is selected from the papers written by junior scholars who have already been selected from the general CPDP call for papers. The jury consists of: Ronald Leenes, University of Tilburg (NL), Bert-Jaap Koops, University of Tilburg (NL), Jess Hemerly, Google (US), Mariachiara Tallachini, EC-JRC (IT) and Chris Jay Hoofnagle, UC Berkeley (US). The award recognises outstanding work in the fi eld of privacy and data protection”.

This is an incredible honor! Thank you, CPDP!

***

I will present the paper Tracing the right to be forgotten in the short history of data protection law: The “new clothes” of an old right at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference, next week in Brussels. I am scheduled on Wednesday, 22 January, from 15.30, at La Maison des Arts, within the “Academic/PhD session. The right to be forgotten”.

The session will be chaired by Bert-Jaap Koops, from Tilburg University (TILT).

The other papers from the session are:

  • Ten Reasons Why the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ should be Forgotten by Christiana Markou.
  • Information Privacy and the “Right to be Forgotten”: An Exploratory Survey of Public Opinion and Attitudes by Clare Doherty and Michael Lang.
  • Purpose Limitation and Fair Re-use by Merel Koning.

As for my paper, here you have its abstract:

When the European Commission (EC) published its draft Data Protection Regulation (DPR) in early 2012, a swirl of concern hit data controllers regarding the introduction of a sophisticated “right to be forgotten” in the proposal for the future DPR, which was considered to unprecedentedly impact the internet and its economics. Critics and advocates of the right to be forgotten engaged in consistent theoretical debates, doubled by the technical discourse about its (un)feasibility. This paper “decomposes” the right to be forgotten into the tangible prerogatives which are in fact granted to individuals. It shows that those prerogatives already exist to an extended degree in EU law, and have existed in the first data protection laws enforced in Europe. In addition, the controversial obligation to inform third parties about the erasure request is a “duty of best efforts” which pertains to controllers and which is significantly different than a duty to achieve a result. Recourse will be made to private law theory to underline this difference.

Keywords: the right to be forgotten, data protection, privacy, duty of best efforts.

For further information on CPDP 2014, check out the conference web page. It looks like it will be a tremendous get-together of privacy people.

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