Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: No (63%)
Difficult but necessary
Jo Best: Let's get one thing straight: The right to be forgotten isn't a right. If you've done some bad stuff in the past, the recent European Court of Justice ruling that brought in the so-called right won't just let you scrub it off the internet for good.
And while we're at it, let's get another thing straight: That right is a blunt instrument. Deciding what stories, facts, and rumours should be tied to your name forever more is not an easy business, and not something that an algorithm can decide.
Nor should it be. Google has received thousands of requests from people who want certain links to stop showing up when people search for their names, some of them have legitimate reasons for doing so, some have not.
Take for example a man convicted of a sex crime, and his victim. Should the offender have the details of his crime removed from search results? Most people would argue not. Should his victim be able to go through life without the details of the attack against her being returned in the search results every time anyone Googles her name? Most people would say so.
The right to be forgotten doesn't stipulate both requests should be granted, nor that both should be denied, simply that both must be considered. The requests do mean that search engines and others must make a call about whether the information should be highlighted to the public, but that's exactly what they do every day when they decide which stories should be in that all-important first page of blue links.
No one said those decisions will be easy, but they are necessary.
New age, new rules
Steve Ranger: There is no right to be forgotten. The act of forgetting is something that is essential to humans; we can't store every piece of information, every memory, so we only hold onto a fraction of what we see, hear or read.
There's good reasons for that – our forgetfulness makes us braver because we forget past pain, and keeps us exploring to find new experiences because we can't just replay the old ones.
But our human limitations, the accidents of our evolution, should not apply to our digital technology. It can implacably store everything, forever; the hardware might die but the data carefully can last forever. And as we record ever more data about our lives, it's time we got used to it being permanent.
It's foolish to think we can apply outmoded human expectations about what will be remembered and what will be forgotten in this new age.