Questioning the U.S. Constitution: Applying Europe's "Right to be Forgotten" to the United States




Jaimes, Maria Nereida

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The innovative nature of the internet has created an immerse free flow of information throughout the world. The idea of freedom of speech online entails that internet users have all discretion in posting, sharing and searching for content suitable to their likes and needs. The freedom of information and communication that the digital age allows for has been challenged by many governments with restrictive laws and regulations. This paper explains how the implementation of Europe's "right to be forgotten" in its entirety to the United States could infringe the Constitution's First Amendment's freedom of speech clause. The “right to be forgotten” is a data protection, regulation privacy right that allows internet users to ask for removal of content if the information is inadequate, irrelevant or excessive. I argue that the “right to be forgotten” in its pure form not only undermines the legal framework set by the United States, but it also poses moral issues in relation to harm and the free flow of information when determining what content is of importance to the society. The “right to be forgotten” imposes data protection laws that promote censorship through the internet in the hopes of securing the privacy of the individual. In the United States, the right to privacy and freedom of speech are two elements salient to the citizen yet the right to privacy can fall short of importance when facing freedom of speech issues. Censorship, filtration and control online are all factors that courts have struggled with in the application of the Constitution’s principles and provisions. In addressing the implementation of the "right to be forgotten," this paper also determines ways that modern and future developments of such right could focus on constitutional sound regulations.



constitution, first amendment, speech, law, internet, Honors College


Jaimes, M. N. (2018). Questioning the U.S. constitution: Applying Europe's "right to be forgotten" to the United States (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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