Right to be forgotten or to rewrite history? – Hot topic 2016

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10 June 2016 | 8:00-9:00
Programme overview 2016

Session teaser

The ECJ ruling on Google Spain in 2014 turned the right to be forgotten into a global buzzword. Nearly half a million people have asked Google alone to de-list search results about them, with the company agreeing to this in 43% of cases. While low appeal rates appear to show that the decisions made are non-controversial, there are growing questions as to whether governments have out-sourced privacy policy to the commercial sector.

The Right to be Forgotten principle is undeniably spreading. Other countries – Canada, Korea, India – are also debating their own policies. In parallel, there are tests of the boundaries of the law – should RTBF have extra-territorial application? Does it also apply to digitised newspaper archives? Where do the boundaries lie with freedom of the press, and the integrity of the historical record?

This Hot Topic session will tackle the bleeding edge of the debate on the right to be forgotten, and the key questions which politicians, judges and internet actors will be forced to address in the coming months and years.

Session description


  • RTBF 101: what are we talking about? (general presentation)
  • The Right to be Forgotten and press freedom (Press representative)
  • The Right to be Forgotten and the impact on search-engines (Search-engine representative)
  • The Right to be Forgotten and the integrity of the record (Library representative)
  • The Right to be Forgotten and personal freedom (EDRi representative)


Right to be forgotten, privacy, archives, press freedom, libraries


Hot Topic session - short (3min) presentations from each speaker, followed by moderated discussion with the floor.

Further reading

Links to relevant websites, declarations, books, documents. Please note we cannot offer web space, only links to external resources are possible.


Moderator: Olivier Crépin-Leblond

  • Ian Brown, Oxford Internet Institute, UK.
  • Caroline Coesemans, Head of Legal, Google Belgium
  • Yrjö Länsipuro [1]
  • Elena Perotti, Executive Director of Media Policy and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA
  • Joe McNamee, Executive Director, EDRi [2]
  • Stephen Wyber, Policy and Research Officer, IFLA


  • Olivier Crepin-Leblond
Dr. Olivier M.J. Crépin-Leblond is a French national who has been an Internet user since 1988. He received a B.Eng. Honours degree in Computer Systems and Electronics from King’s College, London, UK, in 1990, a Ph.D. in Digital Communications from Imperial College, London, UK, in 1997, and a Specialized Masters Degree in Competitive Intelligence and Knowledge Management from SKEMA Business School (ESC Lille & CERAM) in Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France, in 2007.
Having founded Global Information Highway Ltd in 1995, he took part in many Internet projects, several of which enabled Internet connectivity in developing countries.
He was selected as Chairman of ICANN’s At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) in December 2010, renewed yearly for four continuous years, thus making him the longest serving ALAC Chair. Through serving the At-Large Community, he has gained a unique practical experience in an operational multi-stakeholder policy-making environment, finding and building consensus at grassroots level. He then moved to Vice-Chair in 2015 and is now Chair of the European At-Large Organisation (EURALO).
In December 2012 he was in the United Kingdom delegation at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai.
In March 2013 he was selected to sit on the second ICANN Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT2).
He attended NetMundial in April 2014, wearing both the hats of his ICANN Community but also as Facilitator of ICANN’s Cross Community Working Group on Internet Governance. Since 2014 he serves as the Chair of the ALAC working group on IANA Issues feeding the ALAC’s input into both the IANA Stewardship Transition and the ICANN Accountability global processes. He has also represented his community in Internet Governance Forums (IGFs) since 2010. In 2015 he also started involvement with working groups of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Whilst Chairman of the English Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC) since March 2012, he is also a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) affiliate since the early nineties.
Full details are available on: http://www.gih.com/ocl.html
  • Yrjo Lansipuro
Yrjo Lansipuro has an extensive career in televised news. From 1959 to 1978 he worked for the Finnish Broadcasting Co. (YLE), as television journalist and TV news managing editor in Helsinki, and as a foreign correspondent in Moscow and the Far East.[6] From 1975 to 1977 he taught TV News Practicum in University of Tampere; and from 1978-1980 he led the European Broadcasting's New York Bureau.
In the eighties, he also worked as consultant, setting up an all-Asian TV news exchange by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).
In 1992, he joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, working successsively as the Press Counselor of its embassy in Washington, D.C. [7] In 1997, Lansipuro became the Director General of the ministry's Department for Communications and Culture, and served there until 2005; he then became the minsitry's ICT Ambassador and Information Society Coordinator, where he represented Finland in ICANN's GAC. He held this position, and also represented Finaled for ECOSOC, from 2007-2009.
From 2007-2009, he was a member of PSC of ICANN.
Yrjo Lansipuro was the the delegate for the Finnish Section of European Cultural Foundation from 2006 to 2009.
  • Elena Perotti: Elena Perotti is Executive Director of Media Policy and Public Affairs at WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. She is responsible for identifying and studying major public affairs issues within the news industry, authoring reports and articles, animating debate on social media, and educating staff and stakeholders. Elena is also in charge of interaction and liaison with WAN-IFRA’s governing boards, national and regional member associations, and with many international bodies. She holds a Masters of Law in International Law and is experienced in media policy, senior management, global event organisation, and public relations.
  • Caroline Coesemans: Caroline is the Head of Legal and Public Policy at Google Belgium, a position she has held since September 2012. She has an extensive career in internet and IT law, having previously worked as Legal Counsel to Google France, Corporate Counsel at amazon.fr, and Legal and Regulatory Council at Tele2/KPN Belgium. She started her career at the law firm Stibbe in the Technology, Media and Telecommunication group. She studied at UCL (UK), the University of Trento (Italy) and the University of Antwerp (Belgium).
  • Stephen Wyber: Stephen is Policy and Research Officer at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), based in The Hague, where he leads on copyright and other legal matters. He previously worked on social and open government issues at the British Embassy in Paris, as well as on a wide variety of topics including internet governance at the UK Permanent Delegation to the OECD. He studied at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and the College of Europe, Natolin.

Video record

See the video record of the session

Session summary

PDF available on: Google Drive

Session twitter hashtag

Hashtag: #RTBFEuroDIG