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GDPR right to be forgotten as seen by online personalities

GDPR right to be forgotten as seen by online personalities

GDPR right to be forgotten will soon enable EU citizens to request online search engines and social media to erase their past online activity and even chase third parties who have replicated it. We explore how GDPR right to be forgotten is seen through the eyes of three people running their successful personal online businesses.

Mirela Imsirovic, fashion blogger based between Sarajevo and Beijing, believes GDPR right to be forgotten might be a useful right to protect one’s privacy: “It is very important to enable an individual to choose whether he or she wants, or does not want, his or hers personal information to be stored online in any way. I think that retention of personal information deprives one of their right to privacy.”

But GDPR right to be forgotten goes beyond our private data ‘ownership’. Caroline Brealey, a top matchmaker and CEO of Mutual Attraction, believes GDPR right to be forgotten is a great idea and much needed in our world of quick changes: “We all have a right to privacy and it’s positive step forward for people to have the option to remove parts of their online presence. I’m a matchmaker & dating expert right now, but what about in 20 years time if I’m doing something totally different? It would be great to have the opportunity to start ‘afresh’ online.”

Caroline Brealey’s point reminds us that our online presence is ubiquitous. Unlike 30 years ago, we cannot move to a different place in the world where nobody knows us and start anew – our web past will haunt us. Ales Zivkovic, who runs his psychotherapy counselling practice in London’s Primrose Hill and writes a successful psychotherapy blog, adds an ethical component: “The purpose of accessing publicly available information about individuals online is usually done in the attempt to gain a reference of their characteristics today. There is no need for all information about an individual to be displayed publicly and without any limitations—internet is no exception. Historic information is usually accessed to form a view of someone today—to assess their credibility, opinions, references, character traits etc. As a therapist and counsellor I can say that people change, some to their core. What one’s view of a certain matter was years ago might not be their view of it today. What their behaviour or opinion about something was yesterday, may not be the case today. Judging them in such manner would hence be doing them injustice. Moreover, when one is judged according to their past actions, this should be done in a limited and very balanced way—with sense of care and reason. However, the latter is rarely the case when searching online for someone’s internet history. I therefore think that anyone should be in position to deal with their online past—just as they have the right to deal with their past in the therapy room and change who they really are.”

In addition to resolving issues in relation to online privacy, Aphaia helps businesses adapt to GDPR and act as their Data Protection Officers.

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