The Flip Side of The Right to Be Forgotten

Our brains are wired to forget. The internet, not so much. That mismatch is a risk to our humanity. 

Now that the the European Court has ruled that there is a so-called 'right to be forgotten' online, Google must consider requests to remove some search results in the name of privacy. American commentators went nuts over this. Free speech would be lost, went the outcry. A right to know would be buried, echoed the refrain. But maybe Americans are seeing it wrong.

This week New Tech City hears from a man with a heart-wrenching plea for Google to forget one macabre photo, from a German lawyer inundated with new clients trying to jump on the forgetting bandwagon, and we talk to the philosopher Viktor Mayer-Schönberger who wrote the book that started the whole conversation about who should own your online identity and search results. 

Forgetting, he says, "enables us human beings to evolve, to learn, to move forward, and if we undo that capacity to forget because our digital tools remember, then we are undoing a very important element of what makes us human." 

We get thoughtful, personal, and a little European in this episode. Click play above to listen. 

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Music Playlist

  1. Broken Castle

    Artist: Bijou Basil
    Label: BWN Music
  2. Rain

    Artist: Kenneth J Brahmstedt
    Label: BWN Music
  3. RiceMilk

    Artist: Kenneth J Brahmstedt
    Label: BWN Music
  4. Quiet Smile

    Artist: Cullen Fitzpatrick, ASCAP
    Label: BWN Music
  5. Growing Pains

    Artist: Chester Yourczek
    Label: BWN Music
  6. Watch Your Head

    Artist: Kenneth J Brahmstedt
    Label: BWN Music