Debating the “Right to be Forgotten”

The photo is a portrait of Alastair McCapra
Alastair McCapra

On 23rd October Wikimedia UK board member Alastair McCapra took part in a debate at the Cambridge Union about the right to be forgotten.

The panel debated a motion that supported the right to be forgotten (RTBF). Alastair spoke against the motion, which was narrowly defeated.

The RTBF is a complicated issue and arguments both in favour and in opposition are numerous. The panel reflected a range of interests and included academics, campaigners and an MP.

Given his position on the Wikimedia UK board, and his role as chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Alastair is in a unique position to offer an informed view of the RTBF. He has written a comprehensive report on the debate which clearly summarises both sides of the argument which can be read here.

Alastair said: “The Google judgement has taken the existing principle of a right to be forgotten and turned it, in the European Union at least, into a general right to hide behind broken links (RTHBBL). There are problems with the right to hide, and there are even worse problems if we move on from that to a real right to be forgotten.”

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