The Right to Be Forgotten

  • Amitai Etzioni
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan’s Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity book series (PSCYBER)


A young man in upstate New York drinks too much and gets a little rowdy, picks a fight, smashes up the bar, and is arrested. When he gets into trouble again a short time later, the judge sends him to jail for a week After his release, he gets fired and cannot find a new job because he has a record. The local newspaper carries a story about his misconduct. The merchants on Main Street refuse to sell him anything on credit. The young women gossip about him and refuse to date him. One day, he has had enough. He packs his meager belongings, leaves without a good-bye, and moves to a small town in Oregon. Here, he gains a new start. Nobody knows about his rowdy past, and he has learned his lesson. He drinks less, avoids fights, works in a lumberyard, and soon marries a nice local woman, has three kids, and lives happily ever after. Cue the choir of angels singing in the background.


Free Speech Criminal Record Malpractice Suit Arrest Record Internet Database 
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  1. 16.
    See, for example, Amitai Etzioni, ed., Civic Repentance (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999);Google Scholar
  2. Amitai Etzioni and David Carney, eds., Repentance: A Comparative Perspective (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997).Google Scholar
  3. 17.
    Jeffrey Rosen, “The Right to Be Forgotten,” Stanford Law Review Online 64 (2012): 88.Google Scholar

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© Amitai Etzioni 2015

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  • Amitai Etzioni

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