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Consequently, it is argued that narrowing the focus on the data protection law amendments neglects the elaborate balancing of conflicting interests in European legal tradition.
As individuals increasingly make frequent public use of the Internet, usershave become aware of the potential harm persistent information can cause when stored on the eternal memory of the Internet.
Considering that digital abstinence is not an option, users are expressing an increased fear of being haunted by their digital past. In light of the increased online activities and opaque privacy policies of web services, the EC wants to strengthen the control and digital rights of individuals.
Therefore, users should be given the right to have their data fully removed.
The concept of deletion has since been central to the academic debate, which focuses on the legal, philosophical and sociological foundations as well as potential implications of a policy response.
In this article we approach the topic at hand from a European legal tradition perspective, leaving aside the US-American concepts in this respect.
In light of the recent European Court of Justice ruling (ECJ C-131/12, Google Spain v Spanish Data Protection Agency),the “right to be forgotten” has once again gained worldwide media attention.
Already in 2012, whenthe European Commission proposed aright to be forgotten,this proposal received broad public interest and was debated intensively.Under certain conditions, individuals should thereby be able todelete personal data concerning them.More recently – in light of the European Parliament’s approval of the LIBE Committee’samendments on March 14, 2014 – the concept seems tobe close to its final form.Although it remains, for the most part,unchanged from the previously circulated drafts, it has beenre-labelled as a“right of erasure”.This article argues that, despite its catchy terminology, the right to be forgotten can be understood as a generic term, bringing together existing legal provisions: the substantial right of oblivion and the rather procedural right to erasure derived from data protection.Hereinafter, the article presents an analysis of selected national legal frameworks and corresponding case law, accounting for data protection, privacy, and general tort law as well as defamation law.