The Right To Be Forgotten – My research project

In late 2014 The European Court of Justice ruled that Google is required to remove links from search that are deemed no longer relevant or inaccurate. This ruling, also known as ‘The right to be forgotten’ means that monitoring content on the web falls on Google’s shoulders instead of on the sites that published these types of content.

There was and still is significant commentary both for and against this ruling amongst industry experts. In this research project I will be exploring weather or not Australian media and communications students are aware of right to be forgotten laws, and what views they hold.

It was during an episode of the MakeUseOf podcast that a difference of opinion between Americans and Europeans was revealed: The Americans argued that freedom of speech trumped everything, while the Europeans condoned at least some right to privacy.

Eli S surveyed nearly 300 Americans to get their opinions using the following question: ‘Should search engines be legally required to remove information that is “outdated and irrelevant”?’ and ‘How do people feel exactly about access to their personal data in exchange for other services?’

Eli found that a significant majority at 61% were in favour of a legal requirement, while only 13% thought they shouldn’t. The remainder was unsure. Digging deeper into this, nearly 75% of respondents said they’d remove their own name from search if that option was made available.

While in Europe, one thousand requests per day were filled by Europeans to have their right to be forgotten form lodged. Users searching for the related topic on will see a message that says: “Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe” at the bottom of the page. However, those visiting the American site will be unaffected, even if they reside in the UK.

In July 2014 the House of Lords’s EU Committee published a report claiming that the EU’s Right to be Forgotten is “unworkable and wrong”, and that it is based on out-dated principles. “We do not believe that individuals should have a right to have links to accurate and lawfully available information about them removed, simply because they do not like what is said,” it said. But David Smith, deputy commissioner and director of data protection for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), hit back and claimed that the criticism was misplaced, “as the initial stages of its implementation have already shown”.

After recently considering the matter in its inquiry into serious invasions of privacy in the digital era, the Australian Law Reform Commission found that Australia does not need the right to be forgotten. It did not recommend introduction of a right to delist in Australian law.

A recent article published in The Conversation, an academic rigour, journalistic flair argued that we should put aside objections that the right to be forgotten is too hard to implement, and focus on the ideological debate that divides most people on the issue. The debate might be characterised as a showdown: privacy and compassion versus information and freedom.

As Australians we should recognise that the right has a negative impact on legitimate journalism. Access to information is an important aspect of the freedom of expression Australians enjoy. We should also recognise the harm that results when certain content is accessible online.

While it might be easy to think: sure people can have information about themselves taken down if they don’t want it, people should also consider their right to the freedom of speech. It will be interesting and extremely relevant to explore the opinions of BCM students who would be affected by this law every day if it were to take place in Australia.

Some questions that will be surveyed consist of ‘When does it become okay to take down someone else’s content?’ This research will focus on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook where students have the option and the right to share content about other people freely, and other users are able to search that.

In my research I hope to find just how much freedom of speech and breach of privacy means to BCM students, I also hope to how much they are interested and exposed to such global laws. I plan on one on one interviews with class mates, as well as using survey monkey to conduct both open and close end questions that will contribute to my research and understanding of this topic.

I feel some of the risks I could encounter on this project are the possibility of a very small number of students being aware of this law and feeling like it would have no impact on them, I also fear that this could created a heated argument a lot like Europe and America where emotions could become involved.

Australia is a small part of a connected world and as an Australian Media and Communication University Student I will be very excited to see where this will lead.



Week 4.

Last week we reflected upon the effect money has on our happiness.

People exaggerate the contribution of income to happiness because they focus, in part, on conventional achievements when evaluating their life of the lives of other. Nothing in life is quite as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.

This made me think about the little poor town I came from and how happy I was and how I look around now and realise that people around me are stuck in this non ending circle of never being good enough, never being rich enough, never having enough things. They keep chasing things that are never reachable because theres no end to this vicious cycle.

This week I closed my eyes and gave myself ten minutes of silence where I focused on my breathing and allowed my thoughts to travel only to positive things and allowed me to show my gratitude through my meditation.

I send positive energy, prayers and love to Turkey, Brussels and the rest of the world as we all suffer and heal together.

I am grateful for today, I am grateful for being in Australia surrounded by loved ones who are save and happy. I am grateful for the opportunities that lie ahead and for the chance to help someone in someway to make their life, a little better.


Week 3

This week I started by being thankful for:

My beautiful family
My friends
My health
My job
Being able to attend and enjoy university
For the well-being of others around me
For having the capacity to change
The endless opportunities that lay in front of me
For being loved by those around me
For being able to communicate with my family and friends overseas

I smiled at two strangers going out of the car park, I held the door opened for a student who struggled with her books, I felt happy about brining cookies and chocolate to class and wished I could do that in every other one of my classes.

I watched Patch Adams again and reflect on all the moments that made me happy. I want to be able to understand human beings more, I want to be able to help others understand that by giving more, will not make you have any less.

What I liked best about the reading this week was the part where it said ‘Nothing in life is quite as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it’, and that was extremely close to my heart because I once wrote a story and the whole focus to it was ‘99% of things people worry about, never actually happen at all’.

Looking forward to my tutorial this afternoon.


Week 2

Stop thinking about myself and start thinking about others.

When I spoke about happiness last week, I only spoke about doing things for myself, things that make me happy. How did I never consider the fact that making someone else happy would improve my happiness a thousand times?

Ever since taking this subject, I’ve started to discover that my happiness is in fact, in other people. I’ve become happier by seeing others smile.

Health is based on happiness – from hugging and clowning around to finding joy in family and friends satisfaction in work, and ecstasy in nature and the arts – Patch Adams

This week in the tutorial I reflected a lot on my relationships and how essential and influential they are to me. I started to understand how the roles of friendship work, I’m learning how to embrace the best features in each of my friends, to allow them to embrace mine and cherish what we can bring to each other.

While writing down examples of friendships and roles, I was so overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude that straight after class I sent all my friends a thank you message, just for being them.

I feel that was my first act of gratitude.



12 ways to be happier

  1. Expressing gratitude
  2. Cultivating optimism
  3. Avoiding overthinking and social comparison
  4. Practising random acts of kindness
  5. Nurturing relationships
  6. Developing strategies for coping
  7. Learning to forgive
  8. Doing more activities that truly engage you
  9. Savouring life’s joys
  10. Committing to your goals
  11. Practicing religion and spirituality
  12. Taking care of your body

Started to think about all the activities that I can practice in order to increase my happiness. Right now I feel I could practice all twelve comfortably. But I’ve decided to pick one (or two, I’m very excited about this!) and focus on them, while still trying to maintain the others as well.

Expressing gratitude
Practising random acts of kindness

Firstly I will begin by writing ten things that I am grateful for each week, I will say them out loud and reflect upon them for a few moments and let it sink in and the positive energy to flow from me to everything and everyone around me.

I will take on a Patch Adams approach of learning and begin by doing random acts of kindness to both strangers and people I am close with, I will keep attempt to go out of my way to make someone smile at least three times a day.

I’m very excited to report on how I go.


Week 1.

Introduction to happiness.

What is happiness for me?
Happiness to me means being able to achieve a self satisfaction in our every day life. Modifying things to suit our mood and benefit our well-being. This can be achieved by doing things we enjoy. In my case, I love reading, writing, singing, dancing and being with my family and friends. Those are things that if I have more of in my every day routine would improve my happiness.

However, things like stress, work, anxiety, fatigue, get in the way of achieving these simple tasks.

I feel in order for me to be happier, I have to become more organised, find time to do the things that I enjoy more. Find time to spend with people I love and start to embrace a little bit of goodness in everything that I do instead of focusing on the  negatives.

“happiness, more than anything, is a state of mind, a way of perceiving and approaching ourselves and the world in which we reside.”
― Sonja LyubomirskyThe How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want