Framing the Right to Be Forgotten: A Transatlantic Cultural Clash? A Comparative Newspaper Analysis


  • Elisa Telesca



transparency, right to be forgotten, GDPR, privacy


This research tests the presence of a difference of approaches to the Right to Be Forgotten (RTBF), as introduced in Article 17 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), in the media and public sphere. The focus is put on how European and US newspapers have framed the Right between 2010 and 2018. The objective is to understand how news media have presented and described the RTBF to their readers at the national level in Italy, the UK, and the US, and how such discourses reflect alleged cultural disparities.  The RTBF is hereby conceptualized as a multi-dimensional notion. It is argued that the Right can be seen from perspectives other than those related to free speech and privacy, as advanced by the academic literature. The umbrella concept of transparency is introduced as a new way to frame the RTBF, concerning transparency for and from the people, on an individual level. On the one hand, Article 17 GDPR refers to a right to transparency for the people, to know and access lawful online information about, in particular, public figures or criminals. The notion also entails a form of transparency from the people: individuals should be transparent about their past, in real life and online. On the other hand, the RTBF can also refer to a right to be “not fully transparent” online, or a right to non-transparency from the people. This implies that not all information should be published on the Internet, especially when it represents personal and sensitive data. 


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