Right to be forgotten – India waking up

rigth to be forgotten India

For the last many years Indian judiciary has been vocal and very active. Especially on aspects where the subject is controversial. A similar issue is now in Orrisa court and the issue is right to be forgotten.

What is the right to be forgotten?

Right to be forgotten is the way where the individual is protected by not showing his or her videos, images, names, and news on social media.

For example, if Mr. A and Ms. B are indulged in consenting sex. But, Mr. A made a video of the same act and used it for blackmailing or revenge or any other purpose. He might use social media which is a common open platform.

This video then gets circulated over social media and might some day become a par of news on some portal or channel.

Mr. A might get arrested and might delete the content. The laws are strong and police will track them easily. But, what about the videos that have been already shared or circulated?

In such condition Ms. B can use the right to be forgotten. This way even keeping the same video posted on your wall will become a crime. Even in closed groups you cannot share it. And the social media platforms will be legally bound to remove the video or the content from every nook and corner of the platform.

Why is this issue been discussed now?

A man secretly captured sex between him and his girlfriend. When the girlfriend left him he circulated the same video.

The man was arrested and present to Justice S K Panigrahi of Orissa High Court for bail.

Justice SK Panigrahim denied the bail and said,

No person, much less a woman, would want to create and display grey shades of her character. In most cases, like the present one, women are the victim. It is their right to enforce the right to be forgotten as a right ‘in rem’. Capturing images and videos with the consent of the woman cannot justify the misuse of such content once the relationship between the victim and the accused gets strained as it happened in the present case.

Justice S K Panigrahi of Orissa High Court

He further added,

If the right to be forgotten is not recognized in matters like the present one, any accused will surreptitiously outrage the modesty of a woman and misuse the same in cyberspace unhindered

Globally the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy laws have been strengthened regularly. And India cannot stay away from this natural right of the individuals for long.

Therefore, if the court recognizes the right to be forgotten then it will become a big mile stone. A milestone that defines the respect for privacy and safety.

Once the court includes this is it’s verdict this will become a sort of law and everyone will have to respect it including social media companies.

Until and unless it is challenged and rejected by the Supreme Court of India, any individual can quote the Orrisa court’s judgment and use it under the right to be forgotten.

But, still, India has to go a long way.

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