Article on the Right to be Forgotten regarding the reform to the
Regulation of Law 8968.
Thanks to the progressive universalization of the internet and
the liberalization of its access, the triumph of social media and
free creation of websites, we find ourselves facing a limitless
digital world. Big data usage has become an essential part of our
day to day. Companies haven't been fools about it, they've
known how to take advantage, especially of the generalized
disregard that still reigns in the grand majority of internet
While this grants great benefits to society, it also supposes a
notable risk to individual's privacy. The ease with which
information is accessed is a double-edged knife, because it limits
the capacity to select the data. Both images freely posted online
as well as –in extreme cases- sensible data such as our
banking information can be accessed, as well as our political or
religious opinions which we believe to be private in a blog or post
that can leave us in a compromising situation with third
We speak about everything. Everything that interests us, that
surrounds us, can be accessed through the internet. Companies know
this... And so does Google.
This triumphing search engine is our biggest ally online, but it
can also be our worst enemy. We find ourselves between a rock and a
hard place. On the one hand, Google is who helps us find everything
we need (like a "21st-century mother"), but it also
collects all our data and is the leading company in selling it to
However, thanks to the Regulation of Law 89868 of Data
Protection of the Republic of Costa Rica and its recent reform, we
found an escape route from this situation with companies that have
our data. We find it in article 11 of said Regulation, because of a
new wording of the reform published in La Gaceta on December
6th, 2016, through which it is not allowed to store data
for a longer period than 10 years once the relationship that
permitted it has ended unless previously agreed upon.
The Right to be Forgotten doesn't emerge as new fundamental
right, but as a projection of the rights to intimacy and data
protection, over which many postures have been made both in favor
Its detractors argue that seeing this right in this way is a
possible alteration of history and a brake on the right of
information, being that if it is implemented in digital cases such
as the one we're discussing, it should be against the one in
possession of the data and not against the search engine.
On the contrary, those who are in favor of this right see an
escape route from "big data" and the consequences it
brings, because any person can be persecuted by their past. This
right can be implemented in Costa Rica according to this article
within a ten-year term, or before if there were an agreement.
However, in the digital world, it ought to be implemented against
Google itself because it is not only seen as a search engine, but
as a massive information warehouse, and -thanks to this right- we
can eliminate our fingerprint from its online search engine.
Stemming from this right, a conflict emerges regarding
fundamental rights of intimacy and protection of personal data, the
freedom of expression of the editor of the web page of origin and
of the search engine itself, as well as the right of users to
collect data through it.
The information that is stored online can be erroneous or become
erroneous with time, it can be irrelevant, it can be outdated or
obsolete, it can be inadequate or not penitent, and it all endures
of the Internet for an undetermined amount of time. This
information or data that appears online can be misinterpreted or
used against the person it refers to, acting in detriment of
dignity and free development of personality.
For the rights of the affected person to be applied, perjury to
the person isn't a requirement.
The Right to be Forgotten has a meaningful incidence in search
engines and social media, in which special attention must be put on
the value of informed consent of the individual as a key element to
settle the bases on which the Right to be Forgotten is to be
applied. The distinction between information published by oneself
and information published by a third party with our consent becomes
Protection of personal data and the rights of thirds parties
within technological progress supposes a challenge to the practice
of Law. What's intended is to achieve a balance between
personal data protection, the purposes of the information society,
and the legitimate interests of both economic operators and
Internet users. But there is still a long way to go in order to
achieve a balance between these forces and reach our privacy
protection goals, our right to be forgotten, and free information
So, forget me Google!
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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