A major issue with creating your online identity is that even when you have deleted what you thought was any trace of yourself on the internet –whether it be a blog post you decided you didn’t want the rest of the world to see, or just simply your search history- once you have typed something online, even when you delete it, its shadow still remains.
With the issue of online identity in mind, last week’s European Court of Justice Ruling comes as a great advantage for the protection of our data. The Court has granted the ‘right to be forgotten online’. Google are now being forced to remove people’s personal data from search results if individuals request to do so, allowing you to remove the trace of yourself on the internet. The issue comes when important information for the world to see is deleted for the benefit of one, not the majority.
Although it is important that we have our privacy, concerns lie where the line is between the right of members of the public to be informed, and the privacy of the individuals.
Some argue that ‘only the powerful’ will benefit from the ‘right to be forgotten’. Will the implementation of the ruling create a divided hierarchy online? There is concern that the powerful will be able to ‘rewrite history’ yet the ruling won’t be advantageous to the individual and their online presence.
Since the ruling, already there has been an instance of a doctor with negative reviews requesting they are removed from the internet and a man convicted of possessing images of child abuse demanding any information on his case be wiped from search engines. The problem is that there is no in-between, it is going to become increasingly harder to make decisions on individual cases and will therefore require huge legal teams for many companies to deal with such requests.
It is hard to know which side to stand on this debate as we are all curious about the world around us, yet nobody wants to air their past for all to see, we are already anonymous enough online, allowing individuals with dangerous pasts to cover their tracks, can only make for a more anonymous menacing world outside the web.