Hong Kong Privacy Chief Tells Google Asia Needs ‘Right To Be Forgotten’

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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has been made to comply with the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling in Europe, and the privacy chief of Hong Kong is also interested in having the same safeguards extended to the region, and has asked his counterparts to support him in pressing the internet giant for the same, according to a report from SCMP. On Tuesday, in Seoul, the 41st Asia-Pacific Privacy Authorities forum will open, and these plans have been revealed by Privacy Commissioner Allan Chiang Yam-Wangahead of the meeting.

At the forum, privacy authorities from 15 jurisdictions including the U.S., Canada, Macau, Australia and New Zealand will discuss privacy issues, including last month’s European Court of Justice decision.

Balance between right to be forgotten and right to know

Chiang says that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), as a responsible enterprise, should extend the same services to other parts of the world for the purpose of meeting their privacy expectations. Chiang agreed that a balance should be struck between the right to be forgotten and the public’s right to know. At the same time, he also stressed that people who had gone through some unpleasant events in the past such as criminal convictions, old debts, old bankruptcy records or being the victim of false allegations, should be allowed to get them erased.

“This right is not an absolute right, but subject to an overriding public interest. But these people should be given a second chance in life,” Chiang said. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and other search engines in Hong Kong do not fall within the meaning of a “data user” governed by the city’s privacy laws and therefore, according to Chiang, a non-legal approach would be more appropriate for dealing with the issue.

Google Europe a benchmark

After huge public requests and demand, it was determined by the court that people using the search engines should have the right to have links removed from these search engines that led to information about them that they find “inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant or excessive.” The decision establishes that EU’s data protection laws cover search engines, but provides little guidance to the companies on how to comply. A request can be sent to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) in Europe with the help of a web form. Before any decision is made by Google, each privacy request will be carefully weighed regarding the law and the public’s right to know.

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