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51% of Canadians in favour of 'right to be forgotten' online: poll

(iStock Photo)
Summary

A law in Europe gives people the right to remove information about them that's no longer accurate

An Angus Reid poll found 51% of Canadians would like to see a similar law here

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – In Europe, people can ask search engines to remove information about them that is outdated, inaccurate, or no longer relevant, and according to a new poll, 51 per cent of Canadians would like to see a similar law here.

“The right to be forgotten” emerged after a 2014 court case where a Spanish man wanted Google to stop showing news articles about his former financial troubles when people searched his name.

As Canada’s Privacy Commissioner pushes for Canadians to have the right to remove online search results, a new Angus Reid poll found half of Canadians support the doctrine.

“One of the first places anybody now goes to find out about someone else isn’t the public library or city hall or the hall of records, it’s a search engine,” says Shachi Kurl with Angus Reid.

(Credit: Angus Reid)

“Among those who have an opinion on the matter they do definitely lean towards saying ‘yes, if there is something that is embarrassing or negative or damaging that is no longer accurate or relevant or happened a long time ago, you should be able to have that sort of stricken from the public’s search engine record,” Kurl adds.

The most likely to support a “right to be forgotten” law are perhaps, unsurprisingly, adults aged 34 or younger, she says.

 

“The stakes are much higher for younger generations who are not only leaving more and more of their lives online and leaving more of a digital footprint.”

 

only two per cent of respondents said they have had negative information from their past follow them online, but many replied they know someone who has.

The online survey was conducted from Nov. 21-26, 2018 among 1,500 Canadian adults. The poll has an error margin of +/- 2.5 per cent.