As it commonly known, the right to be forgotten is a fundamental right in the modern informational society. It is the right of an individual to obtain erasure of his personal data from the online and offline directories immediately upon request without undue delay.

The perfect example of implementation of this fundamental rule is European GDPR rules which clearly state principles and obligations in Article 17 and recitals 65 and 66. Everybody working in EU and EEA areas is obliged to abide this law and individuals have tools and mechanism to prosecute legal entities that break these regulations.

What about US? Is there any similar law within US legal system which I can use effectively to push for observance of my right to forget? I.e. to push websites, web-services and other online/offline entities to delete my personal data.

Is there any way to punish them by law if they deny to do that?

  • 3
    Did you read the Wikipedia article you linked? It has a section about the US. Does that not answer your question?
    – Greendrake
    Dec 13, 2019 at 12:38
  • No, this section doesn't answer my question. It lists precedents from US case law and doesn't provide me practical way for resolving such cases without law suits. My question is about legal mechanisms that I have without initiating law case
    – Suncatcher
    Dec 14, 2019 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


In the broad sense encoded in EU law, there is no right to be forgotten in the US. Certain rights recognized in the Constitution, in particular in the Bill of Rights, which prohibit various government actions. The Constitution also gives Congress the specific power to regulate interstate commerce, which has been used to limit individual freedoms (such as the right to grow wheat). In deciding if a law limiting freedom is constitutional, the courts will apply the standard known as strict scrutiny in deciding, when a law restricts a fundamental right (such as the right to free speech). The requirement for passing such scrutiny are that the law is needed for a compelling state interest, it is narrowly tailored, and uses the least restrictive means to do this.

There is no such law encoding a supposed "right to be forgotten", although in certain circumstances one might sue for damages over an invasion of privacy, usually broken down into intrusion of solitude, appropriation of name or likeness, public disclosure of private fact and false light. A requirement to delete a person's posts or posts about a person, or records of transactions would not fall under these categories. The simplest answer to the question is, there is no such law, and it is hard to see what law could be constructed that is consistent with US Constitutional protections of individual freedoms.

  • 3
    Just to expand on the last statement: if you committed a crime or were videoed doing something embarrassing as a kid then it is the 1st amendment right of anyone in the USA to publicise that in any way they wish. The EU doesn't have a 1st Amendment, so they can make a law restricting the freedom of (e.g.) Google to mention (e.g.) a press story from 20 years ago. Dec 13, 2019 at 16:56
  • 5
    @PaulJohnson “The EU doesn't have a 1st Amendment” – The EU does enshrine freedom of expression on a constitutional level via Art 10 ECHR, but unlike the 1st Amendment it explicitly allows for this right to be restricted by laws, when necessary to protect the rights of others. One such right is the Art 8 ECHR right to privacy. Since these rights have the same rank they need to be balanced, and consequently the GDPR's derived right to erasure only applies under fairly limited circumstances.
    – amon
    Dec 14, 2019 at 8:02

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