Do You Have the ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ On The Internet?

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Have you ever thought it unfair that you couldn’t control what the Internet remembers about you? The European Union has.

Last week at the European parliament, EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said that people should have the right to determine how and what information is shared about them online. “I want to explicitly clarify that people shall have the right – and not only the ‘possibility’ – to withdraw their consent to data processing,” she said. In other words, people would have the legal right to be removed from the Internet if they choose to.

(More on TIME.com: See how companies use the Internet to find out everything about you)

Reding added that companies who reside outside of Europe are also responsible for upholding such legal rights, saying “A US-based social network company that has millions of active users in Europe needs to comply with EU rules.” We’re looking at you, Facebook.

We don’t want to call Reding a dreamer, but who is she kidding? While the possibilities of such a right are enticing–who doesn’t have a photo or blog post in their Internet past that they wouldn’t love to erase?–the practicalities of upholding such a right are murky, if not downright impossible. The Internet is a shifty beast and there isn’t much hope for controlling anything that can be easily copied and shared in seconds–which is pretty much everything that goes online.

Sorry, but NewsFeed has a feeling the Internet won’t be forgetting your embarrassing office party photos anytime soon. (via New Scientist)

(More on TIME.com: How did Facebook redefine privacy?)

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