Timing the Right to Be Forgotten
A Study into "Time" as a Factor in Deciding About Retention or Erasure of Data
paper by P. Korenhof, J. Ausloos, I. Szekely, M. Ambrose, G. Sartor, and R. Leenes
Paper abstract The so-called "Right to Be Forgotten or Erasure" (RTBF), article 17 of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation, provides individuals with a means to oppose the often persistent digital memory of the Web. Because digital information technologies affect the accessibility of information over time and time plays a fundamental role in biological forgetting, 'time' is a factor that should play a pivotal role in the RTBF. This chapter explores the roles that 'time' plays and could play in decisions regarding the retention or erasure of data. Two roles are identified: (1) 'time' as the marker of a discrete moment where the grounds for retention no longer hold and 'forgetting' of the data should follow and (2) 'time' as a factor in the balance of interests, as adding or removing weight to the request to 'forget' personal information or its opposing interest. The chapter elaborates on these two roles from different perspectives and highlights the importance and underdeveloped understanding of the second role.