Professor Jeffrey Rosen published in the Stanford Law Review some very serious criticism against the soon to be enforced in the EU right to be forgotten, stating mainly that it is a threat to freedom of speech. You can find the article HERE.
I don’t really see how obliging a person to erase an embarrassing photo of yourself infringes that person’s right to free speech. At least, one should balance the right to dignity against freedom of speech in a particular situation and afterwards make a decision in this respect.
Then again, the European system for the protection of human rights is very elaborated and exhaustive, a particular system, with concrete mechanisms of protection and precise principles to be effectively applied (such as the balance I was talking about).
Where is the freedom of speech breached here? “Any person should have the right to have personal data concerning them rectified and a ‘right to be forgotten’ where the retention of such data is not in compliance with this Regulation. In particular, data subjects should have the right that their personal data are erased and no longer processed, where the data are no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which the data are collected or otherwise processed, where data subjects have withdrawn their consent for processing or where they object to the processing of personal data concerning them or where the processing of their personal data otherwise does not comply with this Regulation. This right is particularly relevant, when the data subject has given their consent as a child, when not being fully aware of the risks involved by the processing, and later wants to remove such personal data especially on the Internet. However, the further retention of the data should be allowed where it is necessary for historical, statistical and scientific research purposes, for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, for exercising the right of freedom of expression, when required by law or where there is a reason to restrict the processing of the data instead of erasing them.” This is recital 53 of the Preamble of the proposed regulation for data protection, which means Art. 17 of the regulation should be interpreted according to the principles stated in this recital.
I think the provision is very clear and when reading it I feel my privacy protected and not my freedom of speech threatened.