News Analysis: Should the United States adopt Europe’s “right to erasure” law?

The overwhelming amount of information that floods over us each day makes it hard to distinguish reliable from manufactured information. The contention among privacy versus the public's right to know information has heightened. The right to erasure, also known as the right to be forgotten, is the right to have negative private information about a person removed from Internet searches. The concept has been discussed and put into practice in the European Union since 2006. These challenges have created an interest in our political system that enables news consumers to decide if the data is newsworthy to the public or if it should remain private. "The primary purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing" (Kovach and Rosenstiel, 12). For this reason, the public must comprehend news literacy and how to recognize verified facts and fake newscasting. After analyzing the direct evidence, evaluating sources, and discarding false information, it is clear that the United States should not adopt Europe's right to erasure law.

 

An article from The New York Times titled "One Brother Stabbed the Other: The Journalist Who Wrote About It Paid a Price," by Adam Satariano and Emma Bubola tells a story about a journalist named Alessandro Biancardi, who ran a small news site. Biancardi distributed a piece over a decade ago about one brother wounding another with a fish knife at a seaside restaurant. For this reason, Biancardi was sued and ended up with 50,000 euros or about $55,000 in debt from legal fees and fines. Eventually, defeated, he shut his site. It became the focal point of discussion over the web's future and the developing reach of Europe's right to be forgotten privacy rule. Biancardi's loss in the European Court of Human Rights is an example of a negative impact this law can have for journalists and how news can now have an expiration date. The New York Times article is a credible source because it contained evidence from a journalist as a primary source who had experienced the consequences of the right to be forgotten law. The reporters were transparent by fixing their mistakes when misstating the "European Court of Justice"; instead, it was "the European Court of Human Rights." Additional evidence obtained from CNN News titled "Europe's top court supports' right to be forgotten' in Google privacy case" had direct evidence from a Google spokesperson. An email received by CNN said the decision was "disappointing," and that the company required time to "analyze the implications." Google had recently contended it was just facilitating the information and said it was up to the individual sites to expel the information. It becomes a more significant concern if technology companies are now responsible for deciding what personal data to remove and what is newsworthy for the public to see. The CNN article is a credible source because it had an authoritative figure from Google and primary evidence by providing statements from the emails sent from Google’s spokesperson. It also brought fairness to the discussion to hear Google’s thoughts on the issue.

 

A report from NPR.org titled "Why Europe Is Willing To Regulate Tech More Than The U.S" illustrates the privacy limitations set on Internet service organizations in the United States by the Federal Communications Commission. An interview with Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of law and computer science at Harvard, brings up an interesting point of how many technology companies are not from Europe. Therefore it makes the demanding process not a personal problem for them to deal with. Having Zittrain as an authoritative source made the NPR radio interview more credible since Zittrain is an expert in the field of law and computer science. Zittrain provided a broader understanding of the process of legislating the right to be forgotten law and on the consequences, it will have on tech companies.

 

In the process of assessing direct evidence and credible sources, news consumers must challenge their convictions with opinion pieces that present the contention in another specific circumstance. The Washington Post wrote a strong editorial titled "Opinion | Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten' Shows Legislators What Not to Do." The article had quoted evidence provided by the previous article from The New York Times about Biancardi. The Washington Post argues how it is difficult not to be alarmed. It started as a "direct search engines to make information harder to find has evolved in one country into a directive for news organizations to make information disappear" (The Washington Post ). The editorial from The Washington Post is a credible source because it confined in stating their opinion as to why the right to be forgotten brings its challenges. The article did an excellent job of supporting its opinion with credible evidence from The New York Times story about Biancardi.

 

Some portion of framing a well-educated decision also includes disposing of unverified data. The Breaking-CNN.com website is known for being a fake CNN website that posts false news articles. All articles posted on the website link to an entirely different site with a different source name. In Breaking-CNN.com, the article "General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Countdown - May 2018: The starting point, not the finish line" by FIT Technology, illustrated unreliable coverage within the information provided. As in the article “Disinformation Spreads: bots, trolls and all of us” by Kate Starbird, "disinformation is not as cut and dry as most people assume: those behind disinformation campaigns purposely entangle orchestrated action with organic activity.” FIT Technology is the second page directed once clicking on the first article. It does not mention the name of the author who wrote the article, nor does it give references to where they are getting the facts. For example, "One of the aims of the GDPR is to give control of personal data back to the individual, while simultaneously promoting greater corporate accountability and transparency" (FIT Technology ). Nowhere in the article does it mention interviewing GDPR officials or demonstrating to the public that the credibility of this information being accurate. The report lacks verification and accountability of the information provided. As in the reading "Nothing on this Page is Real" by Eli Saslow, "the more extreme we become, the more people believe it." After opening the freezer, FIT Technology is a privately held, female-owned company with corporate headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. FIT Technology offers managed IT services to businesses and organizations and can customize a plan to meet specific client needs. It is a real company that claims that the GDPR will help companies to strengthen trust and transparency with its clients. The Breaking-CNN.com website's first link of the article is not directing the public to an article from its website; instead, it just takes the audience to a company page. Leading news consumers to believe that this is accurate information.

 

When following the story over time an article from The New York Times named "Right to be Forgotten: Privacy Rule Is Limited by Europe's Top Court" by Adam Satariano elaborated on the case of the right to be forgotten law in the European Court of Justice that took place in London. The court discussed the fairness between the right to privacy and the protection of personal information. In Europe, the two standards composed of the European Union Constitution. The court stated that the right to erasure "is not an absolute right." The cases cannot appeal, and the national courts over the European Union must comply with the choices. Google praised the decision "since 2014, we have worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people's rights of access to information and privacy" (The New York Times). The New York Times article is credible because it had primary evidence verifying what went on in the European courts, something that no other source has done. It also brought fairness to the story since Google had a significant influence on the case.

 

At last, the valid proof, trustworthy sources, and well-reasoned opinion exceed the fanatic declarations that depend on uninformed and self-invested sources and silly suppositions. It is possible to have a society that is civil and healthy if the general public is well educated. It is critical to have the essential abilities to survey the different news reports delivered over all stages such as radio, online, TV, print, and social media. As Anderson Cooper stated, "working in the news is like playing a giant game of telephone. The truth gets lost along the way" (Cooper, 20). Although numerous news outlets will introduce the truth through certainties with insignificant obstinate markers, many won't, which is the reason for the precise need to address what is the truth. If news consumers come up short on the abilities to unravel what makes a decent, complete, and confirmed story, so would their convictions about what the real negative effects that the United States would have under Europe's entitlement to eradication law.

Work Cited

 

Board, Editorial. “Opinion | Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten' Shows Legislators What Not to Do.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 24 Sept. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/europes-right-to-be-forgotten-shows -legislators-what-not-to-do/2019/09/24/092bd7b0-dedd-11e9-be96-6adb81821e90_story. html.

 

Cooper, Anderson. Dispatches from the Edge: a Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival. 2009.

 

“GDPR Countdown - May 2018: The Starting Point, Not the Finish Line.” FTI Technology, https://www.ftitechnology.com/l/gdpr-countdown-paper?asset_Campaign_ID=701C0000 000t6sw&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5IWc9bnc5QIVZf7jBx2idQcnEAEYASAAEgIw9_D_ BwE

 

Kottasova, Ivana. “Top Court Says People Have 'the Right to Be Forgotten' in Google Case.” CNN, Cable News Network, 13 May 2014, www.cnn.com/2014/05/13/business/google-right-to-be-forgotten/index.html.

 

Kovach, Bill, and Tom Rosenstiel. The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect. Three Rivers Press (CA), 2014.

 

Saslow, Eli. “Nothing on This Page Is Real': How Lies Become Truth in Online America.The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 Nov. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/national/nothing-on-this-page-is-real-how-lies-become-trut h-in-online-america/2018/11/17/edd44cc8-e85a-11e8-bbdb-72fdbf9d4fed_story.html.

Satariano, Adam, and Emma Bubola. “One Brother Stabbed the Other. The Journalist Who Wrote About It Paid a Price.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Sept. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/technology/right-to-be-forgotten-law-europe.html?search ResultPosition=2.

 

Satariano, Adam. “Right to Be Forgotten' Privacy Rule Is Limited by Europe's Top Court.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Sept.2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/09/24/technology/europe-google-right-to-be-forgotten.html.

 

Starbird, Kate. “Disinformation's Spread: Bots, Trolls and All of Us.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 24 July 2019, www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02235-x.

 

“Why Europe Is Willing To Regulate Tech More Than The U.S.” NPR, NPR, 2 Jan. 2018, www.npr.org/2018/01/02/575168206/why-europe-is-willing-to-regulate-tech-more-than-t he-u-s.