Date Thesis Awarded

5-2017

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Modern Languages

Advisor

Maryse Fauvel

Committee Member

Michael Leruth

Committee Member

Jaime Settle

Abstract

In 2015, the European Court of Justice established an online “right to be forgotten” in Europe. Under this right to be forgotten, individuals may request that search engines delist links that reference their personal information from search results. Search engines need not grant these requests, but they are now obligated to review them.

While the Court's decision to establish the right to be forgotten certainly ignited a debate among Western privacy scholars and policymakers hailing from both sides of the Atlantic, no country has participated in the debate with as much fervor as has France. This thesis addresses the following question: What explains France’s unique sense of urgency with regard to digital right to be forgotten? I argue that French privacy jurisprudence does not sufficiently explain France’s attitude and actions in the right to be forgotten debate, as most scholars have suggested. Rather, extralegal factors – namely, long-established societal "mentalités" with regard to the modern state's responsibility to shield individuals' honor and reputation from excessive public scrutiny and France's enduring antagonism towards US digital hegemony – bear most of the explanatory weight.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.