In April, a London businessman won a legal battle in a European courtroom to remove online search results about his criminal past.

"Right to be forgotten" laws are accepted in courtrooms across Europe as a right to privacy issue that protects individuals from being stigmatized by potentially damaging personal information.

Kristie Byrum, an associate professor of mass communications at Bloomsburg University, refutes the privacy issue in her book, "The European Right to Be Forgotten: The First Amendment Enemy."

"The ability to retain the integrity of information available to journalists and the community" is crucial to maintaining a well-informed society, said Byrum, a former journalist.

Legally allowing individuals to erase factual information creates what Byrum calls "memory holes. It distorts history."

An example she uses is the difficulty an electorate would have if a political candidate is able to delete aspects of their past.

"How would we be able to vet that person?" she said.

In a blurb for Byrum's book, Greenville, S.C. attorney Neil E. Grayson writes, "If the U.S. were to adopt a 'Right to Be Forgotten,' would erased facts become fake news? Would real fake news become more difficult to discredit?"

Reached for comment Saturday, Grayson added that while the idea of being able to remove unflattering information about ourselves from the public record may be appealing it could have a chilling effect.

"The question of how our government should balance freedom of information with an individual's right to privacy is complicated," he said.

"Dr. Byrum tackles a difficult and very timely question, and she persuasively argues that the right to be forgotten could lead to Orwellian memory holes, the inability to challenge Trumpian claims, and even a digital age rewriting of history as vile as the suspension of accurate information found in the Hitler and Stalin regimes. It is scary to realize that, like the protagonist in George Orwell’s novel 1984, we may all one day dream of 'a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone.'”

Byrum said the objective of her academic book is an attempt to "hold the world open without holes or disruptions. We have a marketplace of ideas and we have an obligation to keep that marketplace open."

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