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the "right to be forgotten" on Internet searchers ought to be a

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/31/2014 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,256 times Debate No: 64301
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
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I will be running for the negative side of the "right to be forgotten" on Internet searches ought to be a civil right.
Many of us had once in our life have been outraged for our right to know in the public eyes. Whether it be from a blocked website or maybe even Area 51. We all question things in our world, but do we know what they are trying to keep from us? The "right to be forgotten" on the Internet sometimes constrains us from viewing things we want to know more about.
Right to be forgotten: The concept that individuals have the civil right to request that personal information be removed from the Internet.
Ought: Is used to express duty and obligation.
Civil Right: The right to personal liberty.
Value: Property
The definition of property according to is the right of possession, enjoyment, or disposal of anything, especially of something tangible. Now we may not always want to dispose of some particular site of ours or for it to be blocked from us. This is highly important towards us because we may have ourselves blocked from our own website or photo because it may have been flagged.
Criterion: Act Utilitarianism
Act Utilitarianism is one ought always to do that act which, compared to available
alternatives, maximizes utility. What is utility? Utility is the capacity of a commodity or a service to satisfy some human want.. Act-utilitarianism so understood is a test or criterion of what
one should do (a test of right action, one may say). It cannot directly serve as a guide to
decision making when one does not know which of the acts that one could perform will
maximize utility. Associated with act-utilitarianism is an ancillary test (a guide for decision
making) intended for use when one knows the value of each of the outcomes that could
result from one's actions and can estimate the probability of any given outcome occurring if
one does an act that might lead to it.
Contention 1: State serves the will of the people
Justice demands individuals should be accountable/responsible for their actions
The Guardian on July 10th,2014 in an article called We Need to Talk About the Right to be Forgotten said that the article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." This is important towards us because there should be no barrier to our freedom of expression and our thoughts and ideas.
Contention 2: People can choose or give or keep the power
Infringes on property's rights- shared ownership
On an article called The 'Right to be Forgotten'-Worth Remembering? In 2012 Doctoral Researcher at the University of Leuven, Jef Ausloos said "By allowing people to remove their personal data at will, important information might become inaccessible, incomplete and/or misrepresentation of reality. The implementation of a fully-fledged 'right to be forgotten' might conflict with other fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and access to information." This information is important because there may come a time when we post personal information about ourselves then it becomes outdated which alleges confusion towards strangers and or employers or schools.
To conclude, I have discussed my value as being property and criterion being Act Utilitarianism. My first contention being state serves the will of the people and my second one being people can choose or give or keep the power.


I will be running for the positive side of the "right to be forgotten" on Internet searches.

Each and every single human being has a secret. The exact definition of a secret is: "not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others." I would like to put extra emphasis on the second part of this definition, which states that it is not meant to be known by others. As human beings we have a right to do as we wish with our secrets, we deserve to be able to choose who we can trust with it and who we cant. Unfortunately sometimes we are stripped of that privilege.

NerdHerd stated "The "right to be forgotten" on the Internet sometimes constrains us from viewing things we want to know more about." I would like to flip the perspective on this and view it from the victims point of view, in this case the "right to be forgotten" sometimes deprives us of our personal right to choose what others can think of us. This is a real life example; Nikki Castouras, crashed a sports car. The impact was so forceful that it decapitated Nikki in a horrendous manner. It was so horrible that her parents were not even allowed to identify the image. A few images were taken from the scene and sure enough they surfaced on the Internet. The image spread like wildfire and the family had no way of stopping it. You can only begin to imagine how terrible it must be to have to avoid the Internet all-together because images of your dead daughter are being shown everywhere and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Had the right to be forgotten been implemented when this occurred, it would have spared them from this. How can you claim that people have the right to look at his dead daughter, when he himself never gave the right? The simple matter is that this is a breach of privacy and should be illegal.

In the pros argument, she claims that this might interfere with freedom of expression. This makes little sense. How can this be taking power away from freedom of expression. The definition of freedom is "the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.", the definition of expression is "the process of making known one's thoughts or feelings." Basically it is referring to peoples power to make ones thoughts known. If this were truly being followed then surely just as people have a right to express what they are thinking they have a right to not express what they are thinking. It would be absurd to think that one has a right to show information but not a right to conceal information. The world would be a mess if people had to reveal all their secrets. To conclude I would like to quote the President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties Stephen Blanks as saying "I think people view information about themselves as something they want to be able to control"
Debate Round No. 1


My opponent made the statement of saying the breach of privacy should be illegal. I am here to say that not all forms of intrusion are necessarily crude. We have many criminals running on the streets. They are outsmarting the government on a daily basis. We use surveillance to deter crimes and catch terrorists. The drones, for example, are one of the things that we use to help monitor our enemy.
If we were to take down the images of Nikki Castouras this wouldn't mean it will be permanently deleted. There may be the chance of someone getting ahold of this image and reposting it for the world to see once more. Moreover, the architecture of information systems has become much more complex, with the numerous links rendering any deletion of data tricky and expensive. With the information being posted again you will need to do the cleaning job again. I have never claimed that we have the right to look at the dead daughter of this family. That is irrelevant to what this debate is even arguing about. That is why I am choosing to overlook this question of his. For it will distract us from the truly important issues in the debate.
This take power away from the freedom of expression because someone may have his/her website or comment flagged and tucked away from the public eye. If the opinion were to be silenced, the opinion may have been true. All beliefs are not certain or infallible. If the opinion, even if untrue, helps solidify truth of present belief. Our beliefs currently even if proved true must be discussed. Not just taken down without our knowledge. On an article called "Wikipedia Swears to Fight 'Censorship' of 'Right to be Forgotten' Ruling" dated on August 6th, 2014. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said " History is a human right and one of the worst things that a person can do is attempt to use force to silence another," he said. "I've been in the public eye for quite some time. Some people say good things, some people say bad things ... That's history, and I would never use any kind of legal process like to try to suppress it."


My opponent states that not all forms of intrusion are crude, Of course not all forms are crude, and if that is the case then in most cases people would not try to have it removed. If someone uploads a photo of you playing hockey with them, then odds are you will not want to take it down, this debate is about whether people should have the right to be forgotten on the internet, not a debate on whether people are offended or not by certain information.

Secondly I would like to address the topic on drones and surveillance that you brought up. To a certain extent I agree that monitoring criminals is good, however if we look at the fact that only 3% of the population is a criminal then compared to the other 97% rights it seems insignificant. A major problem that is arising is that the FBI"s criminal database is filling up with people that are not truly criminals. The problem arising is that people are being listed even though they are not convicted criminals. For example in 2009 Ms. Daniels was arrested for participating in a small protest. She paid a 50$ bail and was free to go. 5 years later however when applying for a job she was rejected because the FBI database had not updated her status saying that she was not convicted. So although the FBI monitoring criminals may be good there is still several other people who have done nothing and should be removed. As a matter of fact the right to be forgotten law, in Europe is limited and does not apply to criminals as such my opponents argument is invalid.

My opponent also states "I have never claimed that we have the right to look at the dead daughter of this family." However in the first intro she claimed, "to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." So while not directly claiming that she has a right to look at these images, she is implying that people have a right to receive information regardless of frontiers. I place emphasis on regardless of frontiers, she doesn"t place a limit on frontiers, in this case the frontier would be the fathers wish to keep the images personal, so by stating this she, I understood that she was implying that she had a right. I realize that this is a delicate topic so I wish to leave it at that.

To Conclude I wish to state that history will never be removed. History is usually applying to multiple people for example a war, containing thousands and thousands of humans. The right to be forgotten mainly applies itself to individuals. As such it is highly unlikely that this will interfere with history.
Debate Round No. 2


Quote from my opponent "Of course not all forms are crude." He is agreeing to my argument to some extent, but he also made the statement of saying "The simple matter is that this is a breach of privacy and should be illegal." Which made him contradict his earlier statement.

Also, if the "right to be forgotten" contradicts with other rights (freedom of speech). Then it can't be a civil right. On an article on Stanford Law Review dated on February 13, 2012 a Professor of Law at the George Washington University a man named Jeffrey Rosen said "In America,[In contrast to European Law and Practice], publication of someone's criminal history is protected by the First Amendment, leading Wikipedia to resist the efforts by two Germans convicted of murdering a famous actor to remove their criminal history from the actor's Wikipedia page." In America this law implies to criminals. Therefore, this argument is still valid.

The frontiers of ours is our property. This man's family was devastated by the incident and the photos that lie with it. Now, we necessarily don't need to view these photos of the daughter. The important issue is that we also have a freedom of knowledge that needs to be issued in the "right to be forgotten". "Factsheet of the 'Right to be Forgotten' Ruling" June 3, 2014 on European Commission "The proposed European regulation, however, treats take down requests for truthful information posted by others identically to take down requests for photos I've posted myself that have then been copied by others: both are included in the definition of personal data as "any information relating" to me, regardless of its sources. I can demand take down and the burden, once again, is on the third party to prove that it falls within the exception for journalistic, artistic, or literary exception, This could transform Google, for example, into a censor-in-chief for the European Union, rather than a neutral platform. And because this is a role Google won't want to play, it may instead produce blank pages whenever a European user types in the name of someone who has objected to a nasty blog post or status update." the "right to be forgotten should not be a civil right because search engines will become censors rather than true search engines.

Search engines are already having a hard time satisfying everyones requests to take down information. On a site called Mashable article named "Google Reveals Information About 'Right to be Forgotten' Requests" it informs us about there being 170,706 URLs (41.8 percent) of requests being taken down, while keeping another 237,736 links (58.2%). This is only on Google. France leads all European countries with 28,912 requests for 89,168 URLs. Germany follows closely with 24,979 requests for 88,883 links. The UK, Spain and Italy close the top five. Most affected by these requests is Facebook, with 3,332 links removed, according to the transparency report. The second site is, a site that claims to be the world's first "social network search engine," with 3,289 links removed. YouTube follows closely with 2,392.

In addition, the "right to be forgotten" places an unjust burden on the search engines;the search engines will begin eliminating all material (fearful of lawsuits). The truth will never be found. Stanford Law Review. Jefferey Rosen, Professor of Law at the George Washington University; Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic. February 13, 2013. "The right to be forgotten could make Facebook and Google, for example, liable for up to two percent of their global income if they fail to remove photos that people post about themselves and later regret, even if the photos have been widely distributed already." He also said "Unless the right is defined more precisely when it is promulgated over the next year or so, it could precipitate dramatic clash between privacy and free speech, leading to a far less open Internet."

In conclusion my reasons to negate the "right to be forgotten" on Internet searches ought to be a civil right are;
1. Infringes on the public right to know.
2. Infringes on property's rights;shared ownership.
3. Limits freedom of speech/ freedom of expression;you should be allowed to say anything that's truthful.
4. Allow possible criminal evidence to be removed.
5. Without all information the truth will never emerge.
6. Search engines will become censors rather than true search engines.
7. Individuals should be accountable/responsible for their actions.
8. Violates equality;the process of removal will not be accessible for least advantaged.
9. No governmental obligation to extend privacy rights.
10. Places an unjust burden on the search engines;the search engines will begin eliminating all material (fearful of lawsuits). The truth will never be found.
11. Conflicts with other rights (freedom of speech). Can't be a civil right.
12. Diligent investigative reporting will allow information to surface, even if it's been removed from a search engine.
13. Search engines are having a hard time satisfying everyones requests to take down information.

Thank you, guillermo.99, for joining this debate. ^-^


You opened up by stating that the government protects people"s criminal records. If this is true then you have contradicted your previous argument where you stated that the right to be forgotten would eliminate criminal data. If as you state it really has no effect, then surely there would not be a problem with this law being implemented.

Even though some things are rights it doesn"t necessarily mean that it can"t interfere with other rights. Humans for example have a right, which is freedom of speech, however certain situations remove that right. For example revealing information about the government is a crime, even though they have a so-called "Freedom of speech" In an article of Stanford law Commissioner Reding states "If an individual no longer wants his personal data to be processed or stored by a data controller, and if there is no legitimate reason for keeping it, the data should be removed from their system."

Once again you have stated that people require a "freedom of knowledge", the thing is we would not be removing the freedom of knowledge. We would only be slightly limiting it, and in turn strengthening other rights such as personal privacy. All rights have limits and the freedom of knowledge is no exception. The simple truth is that knowledge is not yours to have and decide whether you view it or not. You also state that individuals should be responsible for their actions. This doesn"t seem fair since many of the times the actual information was not posted by the individual but rather by some other person.

You also state that this is placing an unjust burden on search engines. I hardly think that that"s fair since if they are the ones that have allowed it to be uploaded it in the first place then surely they should be rightfully the ones to take it down. An even larger burden that seems to be forgotten here is the emotional burden placed on people whose information has been placed online. A company can fix this burden in several different ways, an emotional burden however is much deeper and people should not be denied to have this burden removed just because a multibillion-dollar company is refusing to put the extra work into it. Lastly you stated "Unless the right is defined more precisely when it is promulgated over the next year or so, it could precipitate dramatic clash between privacy and free speech, leading to a far less open Internet." This shows that you are not entirely ruling out the right to be forgotten and in fact he is accepting it as a major possibility.

To conclude I would like to state that the right to be forgotten should definitively be a civil right since it helps people maintain their right of personal privacy. Does not interfere with criminal records as my opponent had stated it would. Helps remove a emotional burden on people who have had to undergo some sense of breach of privacy which has emotionally hurt or scarred them, and lastly helps strengthen internet security and safety online.

Thank you for the debate NerdHerd, it has taught me a lot :)
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by debatability 2 years ago
will vote soon

i'm about to judge a tourney on this topic and i'd hate to see the debate go unvoted so gimme a few hours :)
Posted by NerdHerd 2 years ago
Nah, it's my first debate as well. I just don't go on DDO since I don't have enough free time to do so. :3
Posted by guillermo.99 2 years ago
oops my bad :P, its my first debate so its my fault, sorry haha
Posted by NerdHerd 2 years ago
I completely agree. This isn't exactly what an LD debate would look like. xD I should've explained it in the beginning. It kind of just went over my head. Then once he started to refute my debate I just tried refuting his. Not even thinking of the format of the debate. It was my fault. I take the blame.
Posted by harrymate 2 years ago
I don't think this is the standard LD format...
Nice debate, though!
Posted by SebUK 2 years ago
No votes have been placed for this debate.