Timing the Right to Be Forgotten

Paulan Korenhof, Jef Ausloos, Ivan Szekely, Meg Ambrose, Giovanni Sartor, and Ronald Leenes (2015), Timing the Right to Be Forgotten: A Study into “Time” as a Factor in Deciding About Retention or Erasure of Data, in: S. Gutwirth et al. (eds.), Reforming European Data Protection Law,Law, Governance and Technology Series 20, Dordrecht: Springer, 171-201, DOI 10.1007/978-94-017-9385-8__7

Abstract The so-called “Right to Be Forgotten or Erasure” (RTBF), article 17 of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation, provides individuals with a means to oppose the often persistent digital memory of the Web. Because digital information technologies affect the accessibility of information over time and time plays a fundamental role in biological forgetting,‘time’ is a factor that should play a pivotal role in the RTBF.This chapter explores the roles that ‘time’ plays and could plain decisions regarding the retention or erasure of data. Two roles are identified: (1) ‘time’ as the marker of a discrete moment where the grounds for retention no longer hold and ‘forgetting’ of the data should follow and (2) ‘time’ as a factor in the balance of interests, as adding or removing weight to the request to ‘forget’ personal information or its opposing interest. The chapter elaborates on these two roles from different perspectives and highlights the importance and underdeveloped understanding of the second role.


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