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An examination of the ‘Right to be Forgotten’: Its global implications and the potential for Hong Kong Law

monday 16 november

MAYER BROWN OFFICE: 18th Floor, Prince's Building, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong


  • Greg Kovacic, Founder, Digital Trust Asia

In May 2014, the European Court of Justice delivered a landmark decision affirming the “Right to be Forgotten.” The ruling states, according to the European Commission, “that individuals have the rights - under certain conditions - to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them.”

The implications of this judgment are vast and continue to evolve. Some from the Internet establishment claim that the “Right to be Forgotten” is equivalent to “censoring history” with vast implications for “freedom of speech”, while others claim this is an important victory for the right to privacy in the digital age, and protecting individuals against information that is “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive.”One year after the law was enacted, Google has received requests to remove over 900,000 links from its European search results - approving about 40% of the requests - and effectively processing around 250,000 links as of May 2015. There seems to be no signs of slowing down, and in fact, a recent survey revealed that 61% of Americans were in favor of some version of the “Right to be Forgotten.” 

Across Asia, debates have intensified about the merits of “Right to be Forgotten.” A case has been brought in Japan, and robust policy discussions continue in Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.
Is the “Right to be Forgotten” likely to be enacted in Hong Kong or other jurisdictions in Asia? What are the legal and policy implications? How will the debate on the “Right to be Forgotten” impact other areas of Internet policy? These issues were the subject of the panel.


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