Everyone has a secret, or an embarrassing moment in their life they just want to forget; however, in the internet age, nothing is forgotten. Once something gets posted to Facebook, a message board, or other website it is never truly erased. Celebrities find this out when they Tweet something controversial and try to delete it. They may succeed in deleting the tweet, but not before it’s been found by national news and bloggers alike. Content on the internet never really goes away. Except in Europe, where court proceedings led Google to protect the Right to be Forgotten.
However, there are a several practical issues with the Right to be Forgotten, which is why it has not seen daylight in American courts. Firstly, Americans just do not seem to care about their search engine results. There is a cultural difference between the U.S. and Europe and whether priority is given to privacy or the freedom of expression (nbcnews.com). Secondly, the information itself is not taken down, merely search engine links to it. While it makes it harder to find, the information is still out there (newyorker.com). Additionally, the act of trying to have something “forgotten” on the internet more than likely makes that information better known--look at Mario Costeja, the information he wanted buried is now known by more people around the world. It’s like when someone says “don’t think about zebras” and that’s all you think about, known as the “Streisand effect”. Likewise, the internet does not readily forget something when told to forget it. Thirdly, people may misuse the right to be forgotten. Though Google has attempted to assure their ability to screen misusage requests (economist.com). Finally, the biggest issue with the Right to be Forgotten doctrine currently is that European citizens can easily get around the censor by simply using a non-Europe based search engines--such as www.google.co.us (economist.com) or smaller search engines like DuckDuckGo.
In America, any kind of censorship is looked down on, and the Right to be forgotten is viewed as a less direct form of censorship. The issue sits at the intersections of the right to privacy and the right to know and freedom of expression in the realm of the internet. The Right to be Forgotten can be used to solve real problems of the internet age--revenge porn, hurtful misinformation, and cyber-bullying to name a few--but removing links to information can be misused and abused by people with something to hide. It also creates the problem of giving the search engines the power to review the requests for link removal without government oversight, meaning that companies like Google decide what qualifies to be removed. The Right to be Forgotten may be a sound concept on paper, but almost impossible to enforce on the internet. Search engines, Google in particular, have ingrained themselves into our daily lives; but they also have complicated the lives of others.