The Right to Be Forgotten: An Executive Job-Hunter’s Perspective

The Right to Be Forgotten: An Executive Job-Hunter’s Perspective

There are incidents in all of our lives we wish would be forgotten. At the very least we wish they would not be used against in the pursuit of our personal and professional goals. With recent legal developments in Europe, the day in which this becomes less of a worry may be closer than you think. A landmark European Union court ruling has validated the “right to be forgotten”. The right to be forgotten is a legal concept that asserts that an individual has a right to leave his or her past behind. The concept stems from the French droit Ă  l’oubli -right of oblivion-, which allows a convicted criminal to avoid having the details of a conviction and incarceration published after serving their prison sentence. Applied to the Internet, the right to be forgotten concept gives individuals the right to ask search engine providers to erase their personal data when it is outdated, inaccurate, irrelevant, or if there is no public interest in preserving the data. “That does not mean that everybody has the right to be forgotten whenever they’d like to have their data forgotten” comments Douwe Korff, a law professor at the London Metropolitan University who specialise in data privacy. “The right to be forgotten, it’s really a balance. It doesn’t say you have the right to have your transgressions forgotten. It says if there is no public interests in those transgressions being exposed, then they shouldn’t be exposed.” Due to this controversial ruling, it is now possible for European nationals now have the ability to attempt to remove personal data from Google’s search engine results.   How does it work? To comply with the recent court rulings, Google has launched a service to permit European nationals to request for personal data to be removed from their online search results. Upon this request, an advisory board will deliberate the validity of the request; that is, the board will examine the request to determine if the data is not relevant or in the public’s interests. If the information meets these criteria, Google must remove the links via search engine results. To make a data removal request, you must submit a Search removal request under European Data Protection Law form. This form will require the individual to submit unique information such as their nationality, web links to the relevant material, an explanation for why the index links should be removed, as well as an identity verification document. The identity verification is required to ensure that fraudulent removal from individuals impersonating others, trying to harm competitors, or improperly seeking to suppress legal information.

It is important to note that Google does not have the ability to censor the original source of the information which is under dispute. It can only make it more difficult for such outdated or inaccurate information to be acquired. Further,

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the disputed information will only disappear from searches made in Europe. Inquiries undertaken through its sites outside the region will still show the contested information.

Click here to view the ‘Search Removal Request‘ form by Google.
  Why this matters to job-seekers This can be a significant development for those hoping to propel their executive careers onward. With the increasingly more competitive job market, employers will use any criteria possible to differentiate between strong candidates. While personal responsibility and demonstrations of good decorum should be expected from candidates, one should not become disqualified from opportunities due to minor hiccups from one’s past. For instance, were you involved in a nasty divorce or lawsuit from 20 years ago? Was there ever an incident of teenage indiscretion? Are these details relevant to the public today? Should such information be readily available to use in deliberations over your credentials and character? For the European professional without a spotless past, this new development offers a better chance at making a strong first impression, to be judged on your present-day behaviours and actions rather than on relatively insignificant singular incidents from yesteryear.
Click here to view the ‘Search Removal Request‘ form by Google.
Seeking an executive position is a difficult objective during the best of circumstances. Because of this, it is essential to take advantage of any developments, legally or by any measure, to enhance your prospects. Whether it is through taking advantage of the new right to be forgotten measures or otherwise, plan ahead to put your best foot forward and grab the executive position you aspire for.
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