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22.07.2019 | Global Legal Matters | 969

When personal data is shared in digital media, these data are recorded in these media. These recorded data are used by third parties without the consent of the individual. The concept of the right to be forgotten has been brought to the agenda in order to eliminate the situation caused by the use of the information related to the private areas of individuals without their consent. "Right to be forgotten" is defined as the elimination / deletion of any disturbing personal content belonging to the individuals in the digital memory, which can not be brought back again upon the request of the individuals.[1] The right to be forgotten is that individuals may request that these personal data, which they find annoying, be removed irrevocably so that they do not negatively affect their future. The Internet's “flawless memory’ can bring events that will be erased from social memory under normal circumstances, even if years have passed and the person has abstracted himself from these events. The Internet, which has become the sole source of information, is also a determinant of society's perception of the individual. The right to be forgotten is a legal remedy at this point. The right to be forgotten gives individuals the opportunity to draw a sponge in their past and freely shape the rest of their lives. The right to be forgotten differs from the correction of incorrect information and emerges as a solution to the negative effects of past information.[2]


Decision of the European Court of Justice :

The basis of the case, which forms the basis of the European Court of Justice's ruling on the right to be forgotten, is based on the publication of a daily newspaper "La Vanguardia" dated 19 January and 9 March 1998, when an internet user's search engine entered the name of the lawyer "Mr Costeja González" on Google. The two pages of this link and the link given to the pages of the name of Costeja Gonzalez explicitly include the information about the foreclosure process due to social security debts. Costeja Gonzalez demanded that the La Vanguardia newspaper first remove these pages or make changes to the personal data about it no longer visible, or that certain data should be used to protect personal data by using the opportunities provided by search engines. Secondly, it was noted that the foreclosure proceedings had disappeared years ago, and that citations to these transactions were now completely irrelevant; their companies remove or conceal such personal data about them; thus, he filed a complaint with the "Spanish Data Protection Agency (IVKK)", requesting that it not appear in search engines and no longer appear in links to La Vanguardia. [3] The ABAD ruled that even if a correct information was published in accordance with the law (as a newspaper report in a concrete case), the dissemination of this information could become unlawful with the passage of time. Accordingly, the search engine operators have been obliged to remove the links to the websites containing such information from the search results.


Right to be forgotten in Turkish Law:


Although there is no specific regulation on the right to be forgotten, the right to be forgotten is based on the Constitution and the Civil Code. Right to be Forgotten is recognized as the first decision of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court in Turkey. The principle of the rule of law (constitution article 2), which can be considered as the basis of the right to be forgotten in Turkish law (constitution article 2), the right of the individual to freely develop his / her material and moral existence (constitution article17), the right to privacy (constitution article 20), the immunity of housing (constitution article 21), confidentiality of communication ( constitution article 22), inability to explain religious and conscientious opinions ( constitution article24), thoughts and opinions can not be forced to explain (constitution article 25) "in the context of constitutional arrangements. It has been recognized. The right to be forgotten can also be asserted under the Law on the Protection of Personal Data. The fundamental principles in the Personal Data Protection Act, in particular the silin deletion of personal data,, provide the right to be forgotten.

It should be noted that the decisions of the Constitutional Court and the Court of Cassation on the right to be forgotten are referred to Google Spain in the assessment of the scope of the right.

The decision of the Court of Cassation regarding the Right to Be Forgotten: “….   As for the right to be forgotten; the right to be forgotten, and the associated, storage and retention of personal data to the extent necessary and for the shortest period of time, is in fact the right to the protection of personal data. The basis of both rights is to ensure that the individual can save freely on his / her personal data, make plans for the future without obstructing the past, and prevent the use of personal data against the person. With the right to be forgotten, it is ensured that the future of the person is negatively affected by his own will in the past or because of an event caused by the third person.


It is indisputable for the individual to benefit from the negative effects of his / her past and to shape his / her future, as well as the effect of the quality of society on the development level of the society. Right to be forgotten; Unless there is a superior public interest, it can be expressed as the right to demand that the negative events taking place in the digital memory be forgotten after a while and that the personal data that others do not want to know to be prevented from being deleted and disseminated… ”[4]


Conclusion and Opinion:

The protection of individuals' personal data serves to protect the privacy of private life, which is a constitutional right. The internet, which is easily accessible by everyone today, violates individuals' right to be forgotten, including the need to store personal data unnecessarily for long periods of time, the right to privacy and the protection of personal data. Permanent violation of this right will always be an obstacle to the formation of the desired, ideal society structure. If the consequences of a person's past life have an impact on the rest of his or her life, it will mean that he or she is forced to struggle with other people's prejudices for these reasons. Therefore, the right to be forgotten is important and quite necessary for an individual to open a new page in his / her life.

Since access to personal data of individuals is very easy due to current technological developments, a clear and comprehensive legal regulation on the right to be forgotten specifically needs to be made in order to combat any possible negative effects.


[1] Gülener, S., "Dijital Hafızadan Silinmeyi İstemek: Temel Bir İnsan Hakkı Olarak 'Unutulma Hakkı'", Türkiye Barolar Birliği Dergisi, Y. 2012, Sa. 102, s. 226.



[4] Yargıtay Hukuk Genel Kurulunun 17/6/2015 tarihli ve E.2014/4-56, K.2015/1679 sayılı kararı

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