Resolved: The “right to be forgotten” from internet searches ought to be a civil right.
Author: Jason Jordan 1
Editor: Kyle Cheesewright***Topic Analysis*** 2
***Further Reading*** 3
***Aff Cards*** 10
RTBF K2 PRIVACY 11
Solvency spills over 12
RTBF= Legal 13
Data= harms 14
RTBF needed now 15
RTBF k2 “normal people” 16
Lol First Amendment 17
Impact magnifier 18
A2: Censorship 19
A2: Jurisdictions overlap 20
A2: Disads 21
A2: Public interest 22
***Neg Cards*** 27
Rulings spill over 28
Overlapping jurisdications 29
Data overstretch 30
Hurts individuals, and facebook 31
Laws= Unclear 32
RTBF Fails, UK proves 33
RTBF impossible 34
Other mechanisms solve erasure 35
RTBF kills free speech 36
Argentina proves 38
Censorship link magnifier 39
Turn: Right to remember good 40
A2: no impact on speech 41
Author: Jason Jordan
Editor: Kyle Cheesewright***Topic Analysis***
Resolved: The “right to be forgotten” from internet searches ought to be a civil right. This topic asks debaters to analyze a timely question of the balancing of different sorts of individual freedoms and rights in an open society. This topic is especially important given the proliferation of personal data across social media platforms over the last decade. The term ‘right to be forgotten’ is taken from European legal rulings that have established the right as a basic human right across the European Union. In this context, the right to be forgotten allows individuals to request that personal information about them be removed from the search results that will be displayed whenever a third party searches their name. Thus, when granted this right, individuals have some ability to remove pictures, social media posts, and news stories from easy internet accessibility. The particular provisions of the EU right to be forgotten, as well as the court cases that led to its codification can be found in the further readings section of this file.
Affirmative debaters on this topic will be able to access ground several ways. First, many civil libertarians as well as consumer advocates argue for a right to be forgotten from the standpoint of individual ownership of the self. Second, aff debaters will be able to access links to international human rights law, since several international groups as well as the EU have advocated for a right to be forgotten. Additionally, affirmative cases will be able to isolate some very real “harms” of data proliferation that takes place without such a right.
Negative debaters on this topic will be able to debate from two solid areas of argumentative ground. First, the European right to be forgotten has already evidenced many issues related to implementation including questions of legal jurisdiction, enforcement mechanisms, and loopholes. Second, many legal scholars and political pundits have weighed in on the right to be forgotten as a means of engaging in censorship generally, and undermining the freedom of the press.
Additionally, there is some debate to be had on both sides of this topic stemming from the specification of “civil right.” However, some confusion may occur since civil rights are typically discussed in the context of the United States, and most of the discussion of a right to be forgotten tends to focus on a European context.
Finally, interesting critical ground exists across this topic. Many Marxist thinkers have criticized the fetishization of privacy as stemming from bourgeoisie ideals of personal property and ownership. Along these same lines, debaters interested in critiquing regimes of statism will find ample resources criticizing legal rights. Finally, the question of the degree to which technology intermingles with personhood and sociality at the heart of this topic opens up linkages to a wide variety of critical thinkers.
I affirm: Resolved: The “right to be forgotten” from internet searches ought to be a civil right. Because this resolution questions the balancing of individuals rights in a free society, the value for this debate should be Individual rights Petro explains: Petro, Wake Forest Professor in Toledo Law Review, 1974 (Sylvester, Spring, page 480)
However, one may still insist, echoing Ernest Hemingway - "I believe in only one thing: liberty." And it is always well to bear in mind David Hume's observation: "It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once." Thus,it is unacceptable to say that the invasion of one aspect of freedom is of no import because there have been invasions of so many other aspects. That road leads to chaos, tyranny, despotism, and the end of all human aspiration. Ask Solzhenitsyn. Ask Milovan Dijas. In sum, if one believed in freedom as a supreme value and the proper ordering principle for any society aiming to maximize spiritual and material welfare, then every invasion of freedom must be emphatically identified and resisted with undying spirit.
And, the standard we should use in this debate to measure individual rights is Protecting individual privacy. According to McFarland: “Why we care about privacy” By Michael McFarland SJD, 2012, online at Santa Clara law school: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/technology/internet/privacy/why-care-about-privacy.html
Privacy is important for a number of reasons. Some have to do with the consequences of not having privacy. People can be harmed or debilitated if there is no restriction on the public's access to and use of personal information. Other reasons are more fundamental, touching the essence of human personhood. Reverence for the human person as an end in itself and as an autonomous being requires respect for personal privacy. To lose control of one's personal information is in some measure to lose control of one's life and one's dignity. Therefore, even if privacy is not in itself a fundamental right, it is necessary to protect other fundamental rights.
Contention 1: The right to be forgotten is a basic right Grossman 14 “You have the right to be forgotten” by Lev Grossman, a journalist, in Time. May 15, 2014. Online at: http://time.com/100553/you-have-the-right-to-be-forgotten/
On March 5, 2010, a lawyer named Mario Costeja González lodged a complaint with the Spanish Data Protection Agency against a newspaper called La Vanguardia. Twelve years earlier, González’s house had been auctioned off to pay his social security debts, and La Vanguardia ran a brief article about it. The article was factually accurate, but González felt it was no longer relevant to his life. He wasn’t happy that it came up when you Googled him either, so he added Google to the complaint for good measure.
The Spanish Data Protection Agency dismissed the complaint against La Vanguardia but–astoundingly–it supported the complaint against Google and asked it to remove the article from its search results. An understandably incredulous Google took the issue to Spain’s National High Court, which turned for advice to the highest legal authority in the European Union, the Court of Justice in Luxembourg. On May 13, contrary to the expectations of Google and virtually everybody else except maybe González, the Court of Justice affirmed the original decision, concluding that a person should be able to demand that a search engine remove links “on the ground that that information may be prejudicial to him or that he wishes it to be ‘forgotten’ after a certain time.” In doing so, the court endorsed a relatively new addition to the catalog of human rights: it’s being called the right to be forgotten.
Make no mistake, this is a watershed moment in human history: mankind, after spending untold millennia looking for ways to be remembered by posterity, must now beg to be forgotten instead. It puts one in mind of the Cumaean Sibyl, who, after being granted a lifespan of a thousand years by Apollo, longed only to die. To the list of things that our ancestors would have found utterly unintelligible about the way we live now we can add, right next to the epidemic of obesity, its informational equivalent: an epidemic of memoryContention 2: The right to be forgotten is key to protecting privacy Posner 14 “We all have the right to be forgotten” in Slate online. By Eric Posner. Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, is a co-author of The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic and Climate Change Justice. May 14, 2014. Online at: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/view_from_chicago/2014/05/the_european_right_to_be_forgotten_is_just_what_the_internet_needs.html
The European “right to be forgotten” is the most important right you’ve never heard of. It’s not a right to be purged from the memory of people who know you, but rather to control how information about you appears online. On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice explained what this means. The court held that Google violated a Spanish lawyer’s right to be forgotten by refusing to eliminate links to embarrassing articles about him in its search results. The outcome was decried by press freedom advocates everywhere. In fact, it’s perfectly sensible. And it shows that, contrary to stereotype, America is rigidly ideological about free speech, while Europe is pragmatic and flexible.
Back in 1998, the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia published two notices about an auction of the property of a Spanish lawyer named Mario Costeja, held to pay off his debts. More than a decade later, anyone who Googled Costeja would see, in the search results, links to those notices on the newspaper’s website. Costeja asked the Spanish Data Protection Agency, which oversees the dissemination of personal data, to order La Vanguardia to take the notices down and to order Google to remove links to the pages from the search results for Costeja. The agency refused the first request because the newspaper had published the notices by court order. But it granted the second, telling Google to remove the links.
This is the ruling that Europe’s highest court, the European Court of Justice, approved this week.
Much of the case turns on technical issues, such as whether a search engine is a “processor” of personal data under the law (it is). The bottom line, however, is that Google must remove links to Web pages that contain personal information unless the public’s interest in access to the information in question outweighs the privacy interests of the person who is affected.
This balancing test is vague, but it is hugely more protective of privacy interests than American law, which nearly always prevents people from winning anything from search engines and publishers who have spread personal information about them far and wide. The European ruling likely gives more protection to people who are not public figures, like Costeja, and from the publicizing of events that are long past. Contention 3: Incorporation of the right to be forgotten spills over and solves Hendel 12 Why Journalists Shouldn't Fear Europe's 'Right to be Forgotten' By John Hendel a journalist; JAN 25 2012: Available online at: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/01/why-journalists-shouldnt-fear-europes-right-to-be-forgotten/251955/
The people who should worry are companies whose profits rely on mined, invasive data abuses. American companies, from Google to Facebook to Amazon, will have to adjust to a user-friendlier European Internet, which at least now will offer one set of rules rather than 27. This overhaul, the first in 17 years, will hopefully reduce the number of conflicted transatlantic court cases we saw in the last half decade. What matters now, more than ever, is the consent of the individual. Google has already made real gestures this year to spread the idea that the company values privacy. The search engine alerts people of a policy change coming March 12 -- "not the usual yada yada," Google assures -- and celebrates the "five guiding principles" of privacy in a video (these principles explain how Google uses our information to "make our products even more useful"). Google features a British narrator in this new video who assures us: "We don't sell user information to other companies." Reding's closing note at the end of her recent Munich speech recognized the delicate ideological balancing act the European Union now embarks on. For now, at least, the right to be forgotten demands corporate transparency with data rather than empowers the individual to censor. Europe will benefit from a unified set of regulations staked against business interests located in America and operating on U.S. ideological principles. "According to the Fundamental Rights Charter, the freedom of expression and the freedom of information are basic rights for the European citizens. They are directly linked to a free Internet which has thus to be preserved," Reding said. "But those are not the only freedoms. The right of the creator to the content and fruits of his creation are equally important. This right also has to be preserved." Contention 4: No other action can solve the right to be forgotten Best 14 June 5 2014; The right to be forgotten: Can we really trust Google to decide when our data should die? In ZDnet, by journalist Jo Best. Online at: http://www.zdnet.com/the-right-to-be-forgotten-can-we-really-trust-google-to-decide-when-our-data-should-die-7000030218/
There's a strong case for saying those decisions should be taken out of Google's hands altogether.
For Google, adjudicating on such matters is the regulatory equivalent of asking a teenager to tidy their room — a task they do with no enthusiasm and to the minimum standard possible to keep the higher authorities off their back. It raises the possibility that far more of these requests will be granted than should be just to speed up clearing the backlog and saving the time and money spent on appeals. Doubtless, soon Microsoft, Yahoo and others will gradually receive the same sort of requests as Google is now doing. Like Google, it will be free to choose to remove or keep links as it sees fit. Such a situation could potentially result in a patchwork quilt of the same request being accepted and rejected by different search providers, for example, with an individual forgotten by Bing and remembered by Google.Rather than have the search providers decide, each as they see fit, on the cases, it would seem wise to have an independent body do it for them — an adjunct to the local data protection authorities who can rule on an individual's request, disseminate the verdict to the affected search providers, and handle any appeals directly. It must also be financed by the industry itself — search companies should bear the brunt of policing themselves, as they do with copyright takedown requests. Copyright vs the right to be forgotten EU commissioner Vivianne Reding told the BBC that Google will get thousands of 'right to be forgotten' requests but millions of copyright takedown demands. "This is a small thing as compared to the copyright things. It is possible to handle the copyright question, so it should also be possible to handle the takedown requests on personal data questions," she said. Reding is half right — the volumes are small — but there is a large difference between the two. Ownership of copyright is rarely disputed, and those making takedown requests are often large TV companies or record labels with the lawyers and advertising heft to make Google sit up and take notice. The law is fairly clear on copyright, but it's still muddy on the right to be forgotten — for a start, there is no absolute right for a search engine to forget you, just to consider your request. Most of those requests will come from those who lack the monetary might and legal representation to present a challenge to Google, or from those with both seeking to hide information that should remain in the public domain. For the sake of those who want to be forgotten and those who believe certain information shouldn't be hidden, these requests should be taken seriously, considered properly, and granted sparingly. The only way to do that is to take the decisions out of Google's hands.