The right to be forgotten and de-indexing: the difficult balance between the needs of restoring privacy and freedom of expression.

The publication of articles and journalistic archives on the internet raises crucial questions concerning the protection of human dignity and of the privacy of the persons cited in the articles, subject to the endless reappearance of those contents. The permanence online of the related information and the indexing made by search engines hinders the right to be forgotten for facts or events recounted in the articles, with potential outcomes on the lives of the subjects involved.

The right to be forgotten was created to protect the privacy of the above-mentioned subjects, when the passing of time has lessened the public interest in knowledge of the news, allowing it to be forgotten.

However, when one can say that public interest has diminished? The analysis of the cases ruled by the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data offers some indication, such as the fame of the person involved, the relevance of the news to the professional life of the subject, the national importance of the news or the continuation of the proceedings. There is still a lively debate involving the European vision, more attentive towards privacy needs, and the American vision, more favorable towards transparency and with more protection for freedom of expression.

The affirmation of the prevalence of the right to be forgotten can, furthermore, lead to different consequences: there is in fact a difference between deleting an article, de-indexing it or de-indexing it only for the searches made with the name of the involved subject. In addition, when the content becomes viral, these solutions aren’t always technically possible.

Organized in cooperation with the Chairs of “Legal Data Processing”, “Advanced Legal Data Processing” and the specialization courses in “Digital Investigations” and “Data Protection” of the University of Milan (Prof. Giovanni Ziccardi – Prof. Pierluigi Perri).