What is ‘the right to be forgotten’?

Britons will soon be able to ask social media companies to delete personal information under a drastic overhaul of data laws.

People are to be given a greater ‘right to be forgotten’ under the new proposals in the Data Protection Bill.

The bill will make it easier for people to control how companies use their personal details, with extra powers for the information watchdog to issue fines of up to £17 million.

The new powers will mean people can ask social media platforms to delete information they posted in their childhood.

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Digital Minister Matt Hancock said: ‘The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world.

‘It will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit.

‘We have some of the best data science in the world and this new law will help it to thrive.’

Here is everything you need to know about ‘the right to be forgotten’?

WHAT IS THE RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN?

The right to be forgotten, or the right to erasure, allows people to ask for the removal of parts of their online history.

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office, ‘the broad principle underpinning this right is to enable an individual to request the deletion or removal of personal data whether there is no compelling reason for its continued processing’.

WHAT ABOUT SEARCH ENGINES?

The new bill is an extension of existing EU guidelines surrounding the right to be forgotten by search engines. Individuals do have the right to ask search engines to remove certain links that come up in search results when their name is entered.

Individuals will soon be able to request the deletion of unwanted social media posts (Picture: Rex)

WHAT CAN BE REMOVED?

Under the new bill, people will be able to request the removal of embarrassing social media posts, or online posts made when they were children.

They will also be able to ask online firms to delete their personal data if they have been holding it.

WHAT ELSE DOES THE NEW LEGISLATION PROVIDE?

The bill will also require people to give explicit consent for their information to be collected online, rather than firms relying on pre-selected tick boxes.

It will enable parents and guardians to give consent for their child’s data to be used and xpand the definition of personal data to include IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA.

It will make it easier and free for individuals to require an organisation reveal the personal data it holds on them.

WHERE DOES THE NEW LEGISLATION COME FROM?

The legislation will bring the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into domestic law, helping Britain prepare for Brexit because it will mean the systems are aligned when the UK leaves the EU.

WHAT IF TECHNOLOGY FIRMS DON’T COMPLY?

The Information Commissioner’s Office will be given significantly tougher powers, with the maximum fine it can levy being increased from £500,000 to £17 million, or 4% of a firm’s global turnover.

WHEN WILL THE BILL BECOME LAW?

The bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech, will be introduced in parliament when MPs and peers return from the summer break in September.

(Main picture: PA)

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