Challenges of Regulating a Right to Be Forgotten with Particular Reference to Facebook


This paper seeks to analyse the right to be forgotten that has been officially introduced by the European Commission on the 25th of January 2012. By discussing the origins and legal grounds of this right, the article will argue that the right to be forgotten is merely a re-branding of long-standing data protection principles. Furthermore it will present the different views according to which the right to be forgotten means the deletion of data in due time or the right to a clean slate, before pointing out to the implications it may have on social networking sites like Facebook. Here it will draw attention to Facebook’s noncompliance with the purpose specification principle as well as to the legal uncertainties in identifying the controller on Facebook. Finally the paper will look at the problems regarding the practicability of the right to be forgotten, supporting the opinion that enforceability can only be assured through the combination of legal and technical measures, before concluding to the questionability of its successful enforcement due to the European-American clash with regard to privacy.