按：個人資料私隱專員蔣任宏接受報刊訪問、又在其官方網誌撰文，表示希望游說各國政府引入「被遺忘權」（Right to be forgotten）－－一項極度爭議的互聯網政策，即個人若認為和他有關的資訊是「不相干、不足夠或不再相干或超乎適度」（inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant or excessive），便可以向互聯網搜查引擎公司申請移除該超連結，直接打擊及限制資訊自由。
「被遺忘權」即個人有權申請，删除不準確、過時、無關或多餘的個人資料連結。觀乎歐洲的經驗，經營搜尋引擎的互聯網公司在短時間內已經收到驚人的申請移除連結個案。單就 Google 的統計，截至2014年11月5 日，已收到162,338宗申請，涉及541,754個網頁。部分新聞網站如英國的《衞報》、《獨立報》及《BBC》的報導連結均遭刪除，提出删除連結者包括政治人物及公眾人物。事態發展至即使與公眾利益有關的連結，因私人企業難以處理大量個案，最後為求快捷了事，只能在未核實申請個案是否有理據前，機械式移除連結，結果是窒礙了資訊流通。
Hong Kong Civil Liberties Union
Stop introducing “Right to be forgotten” to Hong Kong!
Allan Chiang Yam-Wang, the HKSAR government’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data wrote in his official blog, claiming that those opposing the “right to be forgotten” have unduly exaggerated its impact to freedom of expression and right to access public data. The South China Morning Post published in the same manner the related blog article, and conducted an online survey with 63% of the interviewees in support of the “right”. The Hong Kong In-media solemnly calls for actions to vote down the plan, particularly voting no in that poll, so as to let the officials hear our voices.
(Nb: Allan Chiang Yam-Wang, the HKSAR government’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data hopes to lobby governments to enforce this “right to be forgotten”, as said in his interviews and his blog article. This right to delist from the Internet is an extremely controversial Internet policy, allowing an individual to apply to search engine companies to remove the hyperlink to his personal data when he thinks such information is inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant or excessive. However, this directly restricts and hinders freedom of information.
The Hong Kong In-media now organizes a petition for both individuals and organizations, in opposition to this Internet policy.
Join the petition here
Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data Mr Chiang,
Greetings. I am writing to express my concern or on behalf of my organization on Internet freedom and information freedom. According to your interview at SCMP dated 16 June 2014 and your article dated 14 June 2014, you appreciate and support the rulings of the European Court of Justice to delist certain information from the Internet. Being the Convener of the Technology Working Group, Asia-Pacific Privacy Authorities, you have also expressed your will to introduce such policies to the Asia Pacific region. We have grave concerns over such controversial policy and hesitations to such a dangerous suggestion.
The “right to be forgotten”, or more accurately termed “right to delist from Internet”, means that an individual can delist the information that is outdated, inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or devoid of purpose. From the European experience, the search engine companies have received shockingly massive amount of application to delist. Looking merely at Google, there were already 162,338 applications relating to 541,754 websites up to 5 November 2014. Some links from respectable news sources like the Guardian, the Independence and the BBC were removed. Public figures and political figures have applied to be ‘covered up’, regardless considerations over public interests. Private companies, unable to process such a huge request, muddled through the processes and hastily and mechanically removed all named links. This inevitably is a huge challenge to information exchange.
Most of the countries enjoy democratic political systems, with their freedom of press and of Internet secured. Transparency is highly valued, without prejudice to government departments or officials. In contrast, the Hong Kong government do not pledge itself to an open government. We are deprived of protection under Archive Law and Freedom of Information Act to monitor the government against corruption or malpractice. Further, the local press is often suppressed, especially in an unprecedented intensity during the Umbrella Movement.
Not to mention that other Asian countries like China, Vietnam, Cambodia, have little hope of establishing a Fourth Estate to check and balance power under an authoritarian system. It would be undesirable and unhelpful to adopt this Internet policy in Asia as it certainly facilitates power abuses, relaxes checks against the authorities and silences the powerless for the powerful. Corrupted bargain in exchange for interests are further concealed beyond sunlight.
Currently, Hong Kong already benefits from a comprehensive set of laws maintaining a perfect balance between individual rights and information freedom, including Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, Defamation Ordinance, Prevention of Child Pornography Ordinance, Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, Computer Crimes Ordinance, et cetera. The Court can make order to removing illegal personal data online, empowered with a power broader that the said “right to be forgotten”. It is plainly unnecessary to introduce such right.
Whereas in practice, the enforcement of this arbitrarily defined right would be done in private hands. It is clear that private enterprises share no responsibilities or commitment to act for public interest, nor they are willing to subject itself to public scrutiny.
From principle to practice, from enforcements in Hong Kong to that in Asia-pacific region, various perspectives of the “right to be forgotten” reflect one single truth – it would fundamentally undermine freedom of press, accessibility to information and any attempts to counter power abuses. Without any hesitation we oppose this policy. We will also follow up this matter with other Asian concern groups.
As a matter of grave importance, we urge the Privacy Commissioner to suspend any plans to adopt this “right to be forgotten” and to stop any related lobbying in the Asian Pacific privacy groups.
Hong Kong In-media
United Social Press
Copyrights & Derivative Works Alliance
Hong Kong Civil Liberties Union