Privacy but at what price?

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  • Americans are strong believers of freedom of speech and expression. The problem is when freedom of speech goes wrong and inaccurate information about a person is preserved forever on the internet. When a horrific crime happens, the media can sometimes publish inaccurate information to grab reader’s attention. People’s reputations can be severely damaged by trial by media.
    Christopher Jefferies and Lord McAlpine have both been paid libel damages from U.K newspapers. In the case of Christopher Jefferies, negative headlines started appearing, over Jefferies arrest in 2010, surrounding the murder of Joanna Yeates. Jefferies was described as weird, posh, lewd and creepy by the SUN Newspaper. The Daly Telegraph reported that Jefferies "... has been described by pupils at Clifton College ... as a fan of dark and violent avant-garde films”.[ An article from The Daily Express quoted unnamed former pupils referring to him as "... a sort of Nutty Professor”. But Jefferies was innocent, but those negative stories still exist on the internet. Lord McAlpine was wrongly accused of child sex abuse, by the BBC and ITV.
    Online news reports are often tagged, which means that other websites re-publish the inaccurate stories. Not only that, but the inaccurate stories can be spread through social media. It’s not about people covering up their past, but about removing inaccurate and irrelevant information about a person.
    Of course those who are against people having information about them removed will claim that the internet is becoming censored. Since an article in a physical newspaper would go out of circulation, why can’t an online version of the article also disappear? Isn’t the right to be forgotten, just cleaning up the internet of in corrected and irrelevant information?
    Americans are strong believers of freedom of speech and expression. The problem is when freedom of speech goes wrong and inaccurate information about a person is preserved forever on the internet. When a horrific crime happens, the media can sometimes publish inaccurate information to grab reader’s attention. People’s reputations can be severely damaged by trial by media.
    Christopher Jefferies and Lord McAlpine have both been paid libel damages from U.K newspapers. In the case of Christopher Jefferies, negative headlines started appearing, over Jefferies arrest in 2010, surrounding the murder of Joanna Yeates. Jefferies was described as weird, posh, lewd and creepy by the SUN Newspaper. The Daly Telegraph reported that Jefferies "... has been described by pupils at Clifton College ... as a fan of dark and violent avant-garde films”.[ An article from The Daily Express quoted unnamed former pupils referring to him as "... a sort of Nutty Professor”. But Jefferies was innocent, but those negative stories still exist on the internet. Lord McAlpine was wrongly accused of child sex abuse, by the BBC and ITV.
    Online news reports are often tagged, which means that other websites re-publish the inaccurate stories. Not only that, but the inaccurate stories can be spread through social media. It’s not about people covering up their past, but about removing inaccurate and irrelevant information about a person.
    Of course those who are against people having information about them removed will claim that the internet is becoming censored. Since an article in a physical newspaper would go out of circulation, why can’t an online version of the article also disappear? Isn’t the right to be forgotten, just cleaning up the internet of in corrected and irrelevant information?

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