Personal information concerning common people and the most vulnerable individuals shouldn’t be available on search engines because it violates their dignity, security, and right to privacy.
The Right to Remove Internet policy focuses on specific classes of sensitive personal information that can be removed to preserve an individual’s dignity and security, while maintaining the right to access other useful data for the general public.
None of this information should be searchable on search engines under an individual’s name.
This right applies only to ordinary private individuals and not to businesses, public entities, or public figures.
Tools for removing search results.
The “Remove” form automatically creates and sends legal letters to search engines asking for the removal of personal sensitive information from their results. The automated takedown letter would directly empower those who cannot afford legal assistance or do not know where to submit their complaints. This simple form includes only the category of sensitive information mentioned above and is thus specifically designed to help vulnerable people. With the collaboration of lawyers and also the search engine companies, the form will submit the legal complaints with specific URLs to remove from the results to make the process fast and effective.
Tools for supporting affected individuals.
The "Support" form would be for advocates, lawyers, therapists, consumers, and privacy rights organizations willing to support affected individuals with their knowledge and advocacy. The suggested laws, technical tools, legal devices, and psychological advice are then provided directly to the affected individuals through the "Remove" tools. The form is designed for submitting legal advice, bills, and legislation that can be used for generating takedown requests. Other options for support include submitting technical tutorials and suggestions for providing emotional or psychological support to the affected individuals.
Petition for Right to Remove.
The Right to Remove would be a simple and workable state bill to be introduced to Congress and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. This petition is for new legislation that should be enacted to provide citizens with privacy protection regarding their personal sensitive data on search engines.
Some recent Legal Development in the U.S. for the Right to Remove
In 2015, California recently enacted the “eraser button” law that requires operators of online services to allow minors to remove content they have posted on the service.
In 2015, Blumenthal, Markey, Whitehouse, and Franken introduced legislation in the Senate to ensure transparency and accountability in the data broker industry. The bill can be tracked under code S.668 and the title Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act. However, the bill only addresses the trade of data between brokers and does not specify search engine results.
In 2015, 26 states already have Revenge Porn Laws. Mary Anne Franks, who drafted the model legislation and advised legislators in the majority of the states, emphasizes that many of these laws are still deeply flawed. Franks announced that she is working with Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) on a federal criminal bill.
In 2015, Consumer Watchdog, a consumers’ rights organization, sent a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in an open letter describing Google’s failure to offer the “Right to Be Forgotten” in the United States, as unfair and deceptive.
In general, the Federal Trade Commission has brought legal actions against organizations that have violated consumers’ privacy rights, or misled them by failing to maintain security for sensitive consumer information. In many of these cases, the FTC has charged the defendants with violating Section 5 of the FTC Act, which bars unfair and deceptive acts and practices in or affecting commerce. In 2015 the FTC’s Commissioner Julie Brill called for the introduction of a Right to Obscurity in the U.S.
Background of the legal notion of the Right to Remove.
In the United States:
Historically, the legal notion can be tracked from U.S. Justice Louis Brandeis, who called it "the right to be let alone" in 1890 with the definition of "the Right to Privacy."
In the U.S. Constitution, some amendments provide certain protection; however, it’s not explicitly stated as the right to privacy. The 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments could be referred for the Right to Remove personal information from search engines.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted in 1970 to address increasing concerns in the 1950s and 1960s over the amount and type of sensitive information held by credit reporting agencies.
As a result of the 1989 case U.S. Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the United States Supreme Court recognized a privacy interest in "practical obscurity."
Torts for Defamation and Invasion of Privacy are common legal litigation models in states without specific laws on privacy rights. They are exercised through lawsuits alleging invasion of privacy, public disclosure of private facts, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress against individuals. A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a civil wrong that unfairly causes someone else to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.
With expungement rights, some states permit individuals, who are arrested, but not convicted, to expunge their arrest records. In other words, to make them unavailable through the state or Federal repositories. Other states permit some convicts to apply for expungement after time has passed from the completion of their sentences.
This legal notion has its roots in the original French concept of the right to oblivion (droit à l'oubli).
The European Convention on Human Rights, adopted in 1953, explicitly introduced the right to “respect for private and family life.” The right to privacy is defined by the European Convention on Human Rights, article 8 and the Declaration on Human Rights, article 12.
In 2006, the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg ruled that personal data should be removed from search results with a person’s name when outdated, inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or devoid of purpose, and when there is no public interest. This proclamation was in reference to the so-called Right to Be Forgotten law.
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