I’ll Never Forget, Jack.

If you can’t Google it, does it exist? Did it even happen?

If you can’t Google it, does it exist?

“To be, or not to be?”

~ Hamlet

If you can’t Google it, does it exist? Did it even happen?

We’ve joked before about how the Internet is like an elephant. It never forgets.

But Europe is leading the way in trying to allow you to erase the past, Men in Black style. You can make the notorious disappear.

This is great news for managing your reputation online. But is it fair?

In May 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that search engines are required grant people “the right to be forgotten.” As a result, Europeans are able to request that search results they feel are no longer accurate or relevant be unlinked.

The material would remain on the Internet, but wouldn’t come up in searches, at least on certain country-specific domains. That’s not enough for French privacy regulators who’re pushing to require “the right to be forgotten” across all domains.

Should one country be able to dictate another country’s online content? Google already removes links to infringing content. Should it be required do the same for privacy? It has already faced penalties for not complying.

Battle lines have been drawn. It’s a tug of war between privacy, free speech, and historical accuracy and completeness.

Across the globe, the number of cyber defamation cases are increasing exponentially. But it’s difficult (and expensive) to build a solid, legal case for removing things once they’re online.

Most business owners and individuals are out of luck in trying to effectively fight back.

Will “the right to be forgotten” eventually become a right that everyone can enjoy?

Or will it be a luxury for only the rich and powerful? An expensive attorney can make a case that many things are no longer accurate or relevant.

This goes beyond just bad Yelp reviews. This could be the beginning of Orwell’s 1984 historical revisionism.

“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”

Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.

You can reach Roger Gillott and Eden Gillott Bowe directly at 310-396-8696.

If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog, Insights on High-Stakes PR.

For a deeper glimpse into our world, see our book on Amazon, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media.”

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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