In 2014, a Spanish lawyer successfully required Google Spain to modify its index so that certain websites were not included in search results for his name. Since then, this decision has both been lauded as a victory for privacy rights, as well as labelled a serious threat to freedom of expression and the public historical record.
From a library and information sciences perspective, the interesting question is whether this manipulation of search results conflicts with the professional and ethical obligations that we hold as librarians and information specialists to provide ethical access to information. And, from a more practical viewpoint, while not yet recognized in Canada, it has also started to have an impact on some of the work we do to preserve information, such as local newspaper digitization projects.
Learn more about this so-called “right to be forgotten” and how it might affect your library work in the future, as well as Canadian privacy law more generally.