Canada’s privacy commissioner proposes right to change inaccurate search engine results – Technology & Science
Canada’s privacy commissioner thinks you should have the right to ask that inaccurate, incomplete or outdated information appearing in search engines be either amended or removed — and that under Canadian law, internet companies should have to comply.
Where information about individuals has been posted to a website or social media platform, they should also have a right “to challenge and seek amendment to demonstrably illegal, inaccurate, incomplete and out of date information,” the privacy commissioner’s office said Friday in a release.
“There is little more precious than our reputation,” Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said in a statement announcing the policy proposal Friday.
“But protecting reputation is increasingly difficult in the digital age, where so much about us is systematically indexed, accessed and shared with just a few keystrokes. Online information about us can easily be distorted or taken out of context and it is often extremely difficult to remove.”
Although the proposed policy is similar in some ways to the European Union’s right to be forgotten, it is not modelled on the EU’s framework, but rather, an interpretation of existing Canadian privacy law.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner launched a consultation and call for essays in January 2016, and this draft policy is the response. The proposed measures have not yet been put into practice, and the commissioner plans to hold further consultations before finalizing a position.
In an email, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist said he isn’t surprised by the commissioner’s position. “We’ve seen many privacy commissioners move in this direction,” he wrote.
The commissioner is also recommending that Parliament study the issue further.
In the case of de-indexing search results, the OPC admits that doing so globally would likely impact the sovereignty of other nations.
Instead, “geo-fencing techniques should be applied so that de-indexing of search results is limited to searches originating from within Canada,” it recommends.