The Right to be Forgotten: What to Know

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Irrelevant or outdated information online can be detrimental to your reputation, especially if it ends up in the wrong hands. This kind of information can damage your personal relationships, job outlook, and more. If there’s undesirable and out-of-date information online that you need to have removed, invoking the right to be forgotten will get this done for you. Here’s what you need to know about this privilege:

What is the “right to be forgotten”?

Article 17 of the GDPR is also known as the “right to be forgotten.” It is the right of an individual to have certain personal information online removed from websites and search engines. This right is not unconditional and is only applicable to certain circumstances. Seeking the legal assistance of the right to be forgotten solicitors ensure that you get the most favorable outcome for your case.

To whom does the right apply?

You are eligible to have your personal information online removed if the following apply to your case:

  • The personal data is irrelevant, outdated, and undesirable.
  • The personal data is no longer pertinent to the purpose for which it was initially submitted.
  • You have decided that the web administrator or search engine no longer has the right to access or withhold personal information.
  • The personal data is not part of the public domain.
  • A judge has decreed that the data be removed.
  • The personal data has been stolen.

However, you do not have much of a case to go on if the data is:

  • Available to the public thanks to the freedom of expression or freedom of information.
  • Significant to public interest, such as historical research, public health, and scientific research.
  • Is not being used in a legal proceeding that is currently active.

How does one submit a request?

To begin the process of removing your personal information online, you’ll need to submit a request. The procedure is as follows:

  • Compose your justification text explaining your reason for requesting the deletion of your personal data.
  • Fill out a request for the right to be forgotten. At the time of this writing, the only search engines that provide their own right to be forgotten forms are Google and Bing.
  • Present the necessary documentation.
  • Successfully submit the request to each relevant search engine or website.

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What requirements need to be submitted?

The necessary documentation you need to provide include:

  • Proof of identification (e.g. driving license, birth certificate, EU passport)
  • The complete search term you want to have cleared.
  • The rationale for your request. Explain and give proof that supports your case that the link is outdated, incorrect, or not in the public interest.
  • The complete URLs or web addresses that you want to be deleted.

What can be done if the request is declined?

Filing a request does not guarantee that your personal information will be removed. Your request may be declined if the data does not fit into the search engine or website’s criteria of whether or not it is in the public interest. If this is the case, you have three options. The first option is to suspend the proceedings. The other two options are to:

  • File a request with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to appeal the website or search engine’s decision to decline your application
  • Submit an S10 letter under the Data Protection Act (DPA) to the website or search engine.

Knowing this information will help you successfully get your information removed should it fall under the relevant categories.

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