RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN: A CRITICAL AND COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
Data in the internet age irreversibly records the digital footprints of data subjects as well as their shadows giving it the power to exponentially circulate the data once uploaded on the web. There has been a recent desire expressed by the politicians, the legal practitioners, the researchers and the scholars for a need to recognise the right to be forgotten as a conjecture of the natural human right of right to privacy conferred upon every individual in this digital age. The foundation of the right to be forgotten was laid down in the European Union. The entire trajectory of the erasure right, from the conception to the legal framework, is of utmost importance to put in perspective the importance and necessity of the right. The United States has critiqued it openly, despite having the underlying essence of this right in various judgements. United States, being a strong proponent of freedom of speech and a vocal opponent of censorship, is trying to find a place for right to be forgotten that does not infringe upon any of its central values. There is almost a spectrum whose one end talks about personal dignity reflected through the ideals upheld by E.U. laws and the other end is the overt stance of United States, which respects liberty and freedom of an individual the most. Considering the two ends, it is difficult to position India because of its conflicting judicial decisions and an ambiguous stand on right to be forgotten. However, the recent right to privacy judgement has opened avenues for the creation of explicit laws on right to be forgotten. It is now widely believed that the individuals must have the right to erase the information available on the internet related to them, which has the potential to damage their reputation and past actions which can scar the present and future life prospects. Criticism has been raised that this right is in direct conflict with the two essential rights, i.e. right to free speech and expression, and right to information. Thus, it is imperative to draw a fair balance between these inconsistent rights by means of an appropriate regulatory mechanism.