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In the EU there is a "Right to be forgotten" This was created by Directive 95/46/EC in 2012 as a right to insist that search engines not link to personal data, and subsumed into tech "Right to Erasure" under the GDPR.

To what extent would this allow a public figure or a subject of legitimate news coverage to insist on past coverage being deleted or hidden from public access?

Are there common-law or statutory provisions providing a "Right to be forgotten" or anything similar in the US, or in other countries where the GDPR does not apply, that would permit such hiding or deletion by a legitimate subject of news coverage?

See also:

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To what extent would this allow a public figure or a subject of legitimate news coverage to insist on past coverage being deleted or hidden from public access?

It doesn’t.

Such requests are subject to a balancing test between the right to privacy and the public interest. This involves consideration of the public profile of the person and the specific information. For example, a request by Boris Johnson to unlink public statements made by or about him would almost certainly be refused. But a request to unlink personal medical information would probably be granted.

AFAIK, there is no such obligation at common law or elsewhere. Common law recognises a tort of invasion of privacy and the person who posted tortuously obtained information could be ordered to take it down. However, it would not be possible to order links or search engines to not point to that information. Of course, they might take it down if asked but they don’t have to.

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  • Boris Johnson, not even sure about the medical record either — he’s health may very well be found of utmost public (concern) interest.
    – kisspuska
    Aug 29 at 6:53
  • @kisspuska probably not if the record is that he had chicken pox as a child. And probably none of it is relevant once he leaves politics.
    – Dale M
    Aug 29 at 8:06
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I don't know much about the right to be forgotten in the EU, but I can tell you that no such right exists in the United States.

There have been plenty of attempts to invoke it here, but they are universally rejected as infringements on the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. See, e.g., Garcia v. Google, Inc., 786 F.3d 733 (9th Cir. 2015).

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