The EU’s recent passage of the “Right to Be Forgotten” law gives European citizens the ability to force Google and other search engines to remove links to old or irrelevant information.
The passage of that law increases the contrast between legislation regarding online publishing in Europe and the United States. In the U.S. there are still very few legal boundaries constraining the publication and distribution of online content. Authors are free to post most any material anonymously. If anyone finds that material to be damaging, they have little leverage to demand a retraction and no clear target for prosecution. Discussion about new legislation has revolved around freedom of speech issues, issues that have strong advocates.
Understanding the implications of the main U.S. law governing the Internet — Section 230 of The Communications Decency Act – is helpful in knowing how to best protect the privacy, security and reputations of U.S. citizens. That law frees website owners from legal responsibility for what others post on their sites.
The National Institute of Cybersecurity Journal‘s upcoming issue will publish my new paper, The New Demands of Online Reputation Management, which addresses this issue. It provides an overview of the leading online reputational threats faced by companies in the United States, with background and preventive information. If this topic is of interest to you, the issue will be out in August.