Tim Wu: Would the right to be forgotten hinder entrepreneurialism?

Tim Wu, the author of ‘The Master Switch’, says that while the right to be forgotten is a good idea in theory but wouldn’t work in practice.

Tim Wu, author of the Master Switch and professor at Columbia Law School, tells Free Speech Debate that while he loves the idea of a “Forget me” button, the bureaucratic burden of the right to be forgotten could result in fewer internet start-ups. “Once you have a complex regulatory scheme it tends to be the bigger, more experienced companies who understand it, who hire people to make sure they comply with it and it tends to be newcomers who are burdened with it,” he says. Ultimately, says Wu, this links to freedom of expression as newer companies tend to be agents for free speech: “Early Google, early Twitter, early radio, early telephone. It’s when they’re in their young and inspired phases for their lives that companies do better things usually.”

Read a full transcript of the interview here.

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Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford. www.freespeechdebate.ox.ac.uk

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