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A Right to be Forgotten in Hong Kong?

03 August 2015

A recent appeal against an enforcement notice issued by the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data of Hong Kong raised an interesting and highly controversial issue as to whether, and to what extent, individuals in Hong Kong have a "right to be forgotten" entitling them to deletion of personal data in the public domain.

This label of "right to be forgotten" gained significant publicity following a landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in May 2014 where it held that under certain circumstances search engines are obliged to remove results if they link to webpages that contain information infringing the privacy of EU citizens. The rationale behind this right is to avoid indefinite stigmatisation or censure due to information available about a specific action performed in the past, or at least to avoid search engines producing results that aggravate the resulting harm to affected individuals.

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