"A monumental measure" for personal data protection on the internet will be proposed Wednesday by the European Union Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, writes Riccardo Luna, a specialist in new technologies, in Italian daily La Repubblica.
A measure that aims to forever change our understanding of personal data protection and which attempts, once and for all, to regulate the "right to be forgotten" in the web era. In other words: do we have the right to 'disappear' from the Web those things that concern us; that we have posted, perhaps long ago, but also those things posted by others that also embarrass us?
The answer is in two sets of regulations presented to the European Parliament. The first, a directive, concerns the use of personal data by the police and judicial authorities. The second is a regulation setting the procedures according to which private citizens will be able to manage the data concerning them in their relations with government offices, businesses and social networks. Sanctions, that can rise up to 1% of turnover, are possible in case of violations.
Will this be sufficient to ensure the "right to disappear"? Probably not, Luna writes on his blog:
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The right to disappear from the Web doesn't exist, neither does the right to disappear from the world. In real life [...], you can try to disappear but there will always be documents that mention you, as well as other peoples' memories. These things cannot be erased with a click or with a European law nor even an intergalactic one. The right to erase oneself from Facebook [...], to browse without leaving a trace, [...], to be warned that our data is being saved and used for commercial purposes already exists and a detailed European law is not revolutionary, but simply reinforces a principle, a fundamental human right. [...] The right, on the other hand, to eliminate every article or blog entry which mentions you, as some are claiming, doesn't exist – that is called History.