“Who owns the rights to the virtual you? Raise your hand if you think you do.” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked that question at a recent privacy hearing on Capitol Hill. Naturally, everyone raised their hands — but they were all wrong.
The reality is that Americans today have very little control over how they are represented online. Faceless algorithms make that decision about you — and if what shows up in your search results happens to be wrong or misleading, you’re the one who pays the price.
Big Tech companies may not like it, but there’s something we can do about this growing problem: We can urge Congress to give Americans a “right to be forgotten” in online search engines. This right has been enjoyed by hundreds of millions in the European Union since 2014, but it remains sorely lacking in America.