The digital age has changed the trend from forgetting things to remembering things permanently and our digital identities are shaped by the online interactions leaving behind permanent digital footprint. In the early days of the internet, people were concerned with the technical details of sharing information. Now, people are concerned with the removal of their personal information. As of now an individual has control over his or her own words, images, videos from digital records but the question arises with regards to the removal of information which isn’t under the direct control of an individual. This question can be answered by introducing the right to be forgotten as recognised by the European Union and few other countries. This paper in the various chapters it is divided in deals with the origin, the relation between the right to privacy and the right to be forgotten, the conflict between freedom of speech and this right, various data protection measures in India, the need for right to be forgotten. However, erasing the digital footprints from the data stores of private companies like Google, Facebook and other internet archives becomes significant.
This paper will bring out the need for the introduction of the right to be forgotten through which a request can be made to these companies to delete such irrelevant and outdated information about any individual. Countries like European Union, Spain, United States have partially accepted this right and the Indian judiciary has accepted the right to be forgotten in certain cases. The European Union being the first country to have accepted it has incorporated it in the form of directives and data protection policies. This article brings out various bills for the protection of sensitive personal data that is debated in India. This paper brings out the brief discussion of the right to privacy case (Aadhaar case) and the other case in Karnataka High court through which the right to be forgotten is creeping into Indian Law. This paper, briefly analyses the case, Mario Costeja Gonzalez v. Google Spain SL & Google Inc. where the European Court of justice first recognised the right to be forgotten. The contrast between the European Union and the US traditions of data privacy are brought out. The question regarding the extent of applicability of this right is also addressed in this paper as the complete acceptance of this right would lead to censorship of information available online which would lead to abuse of the right. Therefore, suggestions regarding various other alternatives that the search engines could take such as de-ranking system to protect personal details of an individual being shared by another individual from public access are discussed. This paper covers mainly, the reasons and the form of acceptance of the right to be forgotten, the fine tuning that is required in implementing this right and the extent up to which it would be acceptable in the Indian scenario.