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Vint Cerf comes down hard on the EU's proposed 'right to be forgotten' policy

Vint Cerf comes down hard on the EU's proposed 'right to be forgotten' policy


Vint Cerf, often considered the father of the internet, came down hard on the European Union's loosely defined "right to be forgotten" policy. Cerf says the policy would be nearly impossible to implement without severely hindering individual rights.

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While Vint Cerf is in the UK attending the launch of the Life Online, a museum exhibit that celebrates the origins of the internet, he's taking the time to voice his concern over what he sees as a threat to the connected world. Cerf, who is often credited as the father of the internet, tells The Telegraph that the European Union's proposed "right to be forgotten" policy is unachievable, citing how easy it is for people to copy information from the internet to their computers, and then re-upload it later. He also notes that our world is already based on the idea that once something is published — a book or a newspaper, for instance — it can't easily be retracted. Cerf believes this should hold true for digital content, and he equates enacting a law like "right to be forgotten" to breaking into someone's home to remove a physical object.

The right to be forgotten policy aims to allow citizens to have specific information about them completely removed from search engines or even the whole internet. However, the proposed regulation has not been well defined by the EU due to the enormous technical and legal implications it presents. Cerf believes that, while the policy would be unfair and nearly impossible to implement, the issue of objectionable personal information finding its way to the internet will eventually sort itself out. Over time, he says, people's behaviours will change and they'll become more conscious about what they post online, as well as what others could potentially post of them. We'd have to agree that a bit of personal discretion is a much better option than trying to police the whole internet.