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Americans want Euro-style 'right' to erase their Internet history

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Google,Privacy,Technology,Social Media,Internet

Americans are saying “me too” when it comes to a European court's ruling that allows people to get links and information about themselves removed from the internet.

U.S. internet users are especially eager to scrub their dating and financial history, and younger Americans also want to erase links to old, embarrassing photos.

A new YouGov.com poll found that 55 percent support legislation dubbed “right to forget” in Europe. Men support the initiative more than woman, 60 percent to 50 percent.

Google in Europe has already taken steps to comply with the court ruling by providing a form European Union citizens can fill out explaining why a link to them is “irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate.” If the request is approved, the link will be erased.

It is likely very attractive for younger Americans seeking their first jobs and worried that earlier posts will embarrass them.

YouGov said that 35 percent of Americans want links to their financial history, including bankruptcy judgments, removed; 29 percent want links to ex-partners or friends erased; and 28 percent want old pictures eliminated from viewing by others.

The polling firm also explained that “the ‘right to privacy’ is the primary benefit to some form of ‘right to be forgotten’ legislation in the U.S. and is cited by 50 percent. Ability to remove links to false information (47 percent), and ability to remove links to malicious information or Images (45 percent) were next most frequently cited benefits. Thirty-two percent feel that people do silly things when they are younger and shouldn’t have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.