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An examination of the “Right to be Forgotten”: Its global implications and the potential for a Singapore law

Tuesday 15 September 2015

10 Collyer Quay, Ocean Financial Centre, #05-01, Singapore 049315

Rob Bratby, Managing Partner, Olswang Asia
Greg Kovacic, Founder, Digital Trust Asia

On September 15, 2015, the IIC Singapore chapter held a roundtable discussion led by Rob Bratby, Managing Partner of Olswang Asia, and Greg Kovacic, founder of Digital Trust Asia, examining the “Right to be Forgotten” and the legal and policy implications of this landmark decision.

The session focused on the legal impact in Europe, whether or not this type of legislation can be passed in Singapore and other jurisdictions across Asia, and the real-life impact of how information can be used to seriously damage your reputation.

From a legal perspective, Mr. Bratby explained how the European experience has very little relevance to Singapore. The primary reasons for this are the differences in data protection laws between Europe and Singapore and the different calculations that each jurisdiction takes toward balancing freedom of expression with an individuals’ right to privacy. Also, the libel laws and licensing regimes are quite distinct in Singapore which may make the “Right to be Forgotten” less applicable. The “Right to be Forgotten” is much more relevant for countries that hold privacy rights as a legal foundation. There are several markets in Asia with this legal foundation, including, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

The legal debate surrounding the “Right to be Forgotten” is certainly fascinating, but much of the popular appeal of this legislation are the personal stories describing how information available online can seriously damage your reputation. Mr. Kovacic gave a comprehensive account of his experience and frustrations trying to resolve a situation where someone was intentionally seeking to injure his reputation online. Mr. Kovacic articulated his view that technology companies have yet to fully embrace user privacy and although the “Right to be Forgotten” is a positive step, work still needs to be done to streamline the process, further empower Internet users, and establish an Internet of Trust.

You can access to the full presentation by clicking here.


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