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Right to be forgotten

Date: 28 December 2021 Tags: Constitution

Issue

The centre has responded to the Delhi High Court and said that “right to be forgotten” is part of the fundamental right to privacy and has said it has no role in this matter.

 

Background

There have been demands from various quarters to implement “right to be forgotten” as a fundamental right. Currently, it is not backed by any statute.

 

Details

  • The right to be forgotten is a provision that allows a person to seek deletion of private information from the Internet. 

  • The provision has found some traction after European Union recognised the right and made laws to implement them.

  • India does not have any law that supports right to be forgotten but courts have ruled that it is an intrinsic part of the right to privacy.

 

Countries with such law

  • Article 17 of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of EU gives right to erasure of certain categories of personal data.

  • Data that qualify under this category includes those no longer necessary, that for which consent has been withdrawn, personal data unlawfully processed, and data where there is a legal obligation for erasure.

  • A law in Russia allows forcing a search engine to remove links to personal information on grounds of irrelevancy, inaccuracy and violation of law.

  • The law has been recognised up to certain extent in Turkey and Siberia. Courts in England and Spain have ruled on this subject.

 

India’s position

  • The Personal Data Protection Bill contains provisions to the doctrine of the ‘right to be forgotten’.

  • K S Puttaswamy judgment (2017) that says right to privacy is a fundamental right has allowed the ‘right to be forgotten’ to evolve in India.

 

Concerns

Without statutory backing, the right to forget is likely to clash with the public’s right to know and the functioning of platforms such as Google and Twitter.

 

Right to privacy

  • The Supreme Court has ruled that Right to Privacy is a part of the Right to Life and Liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

  • It is a right against the State under Article 12 of the Constitution, and not against private citizens. However, there are no comprehensive laws on privacy.