Introduce "the Right to be Forgotten" in Canada

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We live in a world which never forgets. The internet has made it impossible for people to move beyond their mistakes. It is for this reason that Canada needs to implement a right to be forgotten.

In 2014, a man in the European Union tried to get Google to remove links to two pages which detailed information regarding the repossession of his home due to unpaid debts. The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of the man, establishing a precedent for the right to be forgotten.

Currently, citizens within the E.U can request to have links removed from from search engines like Google and Bing if the information is found to be "inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant." However, this is simply not enough. Information, including incorrect and defamatory articles, misguided posts of the past, and revenge porn, can still be found although the links have been deleted. Additionally, it is the search engines themselves that are forced to decide which links should be removed or kept, on a case by case basis.

It is imperative that Canada introduces a redesigned right to be forgotten. No person is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, and falls victim to misconceptions and misunderstandings. If people must always fear having their lives ruined due to some post or photo, than it becomes impossible to develop and change, both as a person and a society. There are many adults today who face a bleak future due to their inability to escape their past. There are people who cannot find jobs because of what shows up when their name is searched. There are teenagers who have never known what it means to express themselves.

We propose several changes to the right to be forgotten, to make the change safe, free, and effective. First, rather than simply removing links to stories and pages, the information itself should be removed from the servers on which it is stored. This is the only way to truly delete something from the internet. Additionally, it cannot fall to corporations to control which links are preserved or deleted. This responsibility comes at a cost to those companies, and creates a dangerous precedent regarding corporate control of information. Instead, a judicial board should be established which decides which pages to delete. The board would operate independently from the elected government, and instead be accountable to the court system. Both the server owners and individuals wishing to have their information removed would have the ability to file an appeal after the verdict is decided.

The world is changing, and it is time for our legal framework to reflect those changes.


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