The Current

Still lamenting those MySpace posts? Canada considers adopting a 'right to be forgotten'

In 2014, the European Union gave its citizens the right to request search engines remove information about them from search results. Last week, a House of Commons Committee released a report recommending that Canada consider a similar 'right of erasure.'
Since 2014, Google has received about 650,000 requests to delist information on it's search engine in the European Union. (Getty Images/Canopy)
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In 2014, the European Union made the controversial decision to give its citizens the right to ask Google and other search engines to remove search results about them. The law became known as "the right to be forgotten."

Since then, Google has received about 650,000 requests to forget about 2.4 million items (links or URLs) on the internet in the EU.

Last week, a House of Commons Committee released a report recommending that Canada consider a similar 'right of erasure.'

Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Daniel Therrien, says this is a new problem to tackle since the internet makes people's private information more available.

"There are real consequences to the fact that inaccurate information may be found on the net and we think that this should be addressed."

Google and other search engines had to create programs within their companies to handle right to be forgotten requests after the 2014 decision by the EU. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

However, Google's Global Privacy Counsel, Peter Fleischer, says inaccurate information and fake news aren't the main issue since the right to be forgotten addresses content that is true and accurate.

To Fleischer, the law impinges on Google's goal of providing the public with the most relevant information.

"It's not just the interests of privacy. It's also the interest of people to have access to full information online."
 

This article was updated on Mar. 8, 2018, to correct a mistake in naming Peter Fleischer. We apologize for the error.


You can listen to the full segment above, which includes perspective from Toronto-based privacy and security consultant, John Wonderlich​. You can share this article across email, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kristin Nelson and Cathy Simon.