In the far-flung European Union, they don’t just have superior croissants and hilarious accents. They also have “right to be forgotten” laws.
But what exactly does it mean to be granted the right to be forgotten? Does it mean all your friends, family, and lovers have a right to forget your birthday? Nope, it’s instead a set of data protection rules.
In all EU countries, an individual has the right to ask organisations to delete their personal data. Moreover, if the circumstances are right, said organisation will be forced to delete said person’s info.
If you want to be a fancy-pants, these laws are also known as General Data Protection Regulations.
In 2014, these regulations were used by a Spanish man to have an auction notice regarding his repossessed home removed from Google. Yup, these sorts of laws have been in the EU for a hot minute now.
However, it’s worth noting that these data protection rules don’t apply to everything. For instance, you can’t get data about yourself deleted if having your online info is in the public’s interest.
Should Australians Have the Right To Be Forgotten?
Australia’s Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, has stated that his government is currently in preliminary discussions about creating its own right-to-be-forgotten laws. This comes hot on the tail of Dreyfus’ 2022 privacy bill. Dreyfus’ law increased the fines that companies who fail at protecting our personal info will receive.
When explicitly discussing Australia creating its own right-to-be-forgotten laws, Dreyfus said that they “are among the matters that will need to be considered.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, called such legislation a “pretty commonsense proposal.”
So, will we get some right-to-be-forgotten laws in 2023? Well, at the moment, our politicians are just dipping their toes into this policy. We’ll have to wait until they either take the plunge or walk away from the pool.