The basic argument is one that is becoming all too familiar as we navigate the digital landscape: the personal right to privacy versus freedom of expression, and the right to information.
This is a complex enough set of principles to define and place into legal context. Adding to the complexity is the global scope of companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
Laws and rights that may apply in one country do not necessarily apply in others. And legislation varies within countries from province-to-province or state-to-state. As we invest more and more of our daily activities and our personal identities online, more friction arises between our personal and corporate rights.
In a recent article
on the EU ruling, Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa specializing in internet issues, was interviewed.
According to Geist, it’s still not clear in Canada whether a search engine would have a legal obligation to remove links upon request.
He said, “I’m not convinced we have a right to be forgotten.”
Given this context, and the surety that we will all, one day, die and leave a significant online footprint behind, it becomes more important than ever that we are mindful about what we post to our digital platforms.
Here are a few internet basics:
• Declutter your newsfeeds. Remove out-of-date material, or languishing websites.
• Don’t post potentially embarrassing photos of yourself or others.
• Refuse to share or repost inaccurate, false, or misleading information.
While we are living, let’s practice good digital citizenship so that when we are gone, we can be remembered (or forgotten) as we choose.
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article first appeared in the Maple Ridge News.