Following very real concerns created by governments attempting to violate basic internet privacy, some of which were stopped by the EU itself, when the British government seeks to opt out of EU rights for internet users people understandably become worried. In fact, headlines created quite emotional reactions:
daman345: The UK ought to f**k off on this one. That sounds like an important right to have in the online world.
oldtymer: What do you expect from this government? They will always put the interests of the huge corporate user before the rights of their citizens.
ryebonfire: Why on earth should the MoJ oppose this? Given that there should be sensible exceptions for State records, everyone has a right to the privacy of their personal data.
Others went as far to call it Orwellian, but is it scaremongering or yet another authoritarian policy on part of the government? For one thing, the idea of a ‘right to be forgotten’ is simply impractical.
The concept will either be overbearing or in actual fact promise very little. Richard Allan, a regional Facebook director for policy, said:
“we have concerns about about the workability and consequences of a mechanism where organisations start sending each other instructions about data that needs to be removed. Our worry is that it will take up resources and won’t be effective.”
Simply put, if an embarrassing picture is put online and spread to multiple sites it becomes both impossible to track and near infinitely time consuming to request takedowns. According to some sources, the law could cost the UK over £400m a year in total according to justice minister Lord McNally.
There are some parallels between this and copyright takedown, sites like Youtube have to cooperate with laws on copyright but lack the resources/incentive to do effectively, hence, they have automated systems that delete/block videos or accounts after a certain amount of requested takedowns. This automated system can be combatted if your personal details are filled in claiming ownership of your own video, but due to this can also be abused to silence those taking controversial stances who fear letting their personal information become public (see here, for example). It is not unreasonable to suggest that the same kind of ‘doxxing’ could happen with any of these new proposed laws.