Jef Ausloos, The Right to Erasure: Reconfiguring the Power Equilibrium over Personal Data
Comment by: Paul Bernal
Workshop draft abstract:
As people increasingly live (parts of) their life online, the collection and processing of personal data has grown exponentially over the last few decades. More importantly, recent history seems to suggest that the power over personal data seems to consolidate in the hands of just a few (corporate) players. From the early beginning, one of the most important rationales behind the European data protection framework was to protect individuals from such powerful data controlling entities. Over the years, a compromise framework was achieved with the 1995 Data Protection Directive, which empowers individuals vis-à-vis data controllers while at the same time providing some fundamental safeguards that cannot be negotiated. Almost two decades later, however, one might ask to what extent the aim to ‘equalise bargaining positions’ is still achieved. The subject of this paper will be to investigate the extent to which a right to erasure would (not) contribute to a more equitable power balance over personal data. This is a question that has largely been ignored in (trans-Atlantic) debates on the so-called Right to be Forgotten (umbrella term which also comprises the Right to Erasure).