Bill aims to make it easier to remove false info from web

Some state lawmakers want to make it easier to remove false information posted about someone online, but some others believe the legislation could be breaking

Some state lawmakers want to make it easier to remove false information posted about someone online, but some others believe the legislation could be breaking the law.

Some state lawmakers want to make it easier to remove false information posted about someone online, but some others believe the legislation could be breaking the law. (3/17/17)

WOODBURY - Some state lawmakers want to make it easier to remove false information posted about someone online, but some others believe the legislation could be breaking the law.

Diane Volpe, of East Meadow, says she believes that false information spread online could easily damage a person's career, or even their life. That's why a pair of state lawmakers from Queens have introduced the so-called the "Right to be Forgotten Act."

Assemblyman David Weprin and state Sen. Tony Avella have proposed legislation that would force search engines and other websites to remove inaccurate information about someone, if that person requests that they do so. Volpe thinks it sounds like a good idea.

"If they put something online that isn't true, it could be slander," she says.

The bill says the law change is necessary in modern times: "Currently, the statute of limitations provides that a person may sue within one year of being defamed by a publisher. While this was sufficient when publishing was limited to television and news print, today's online publications can resurface in perpetuity through online search engines."

But Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R-East Meadow) says that while he can see why someone would want to have false information about themselves wiped from the internet, he thinks the bill may not pass the legal test.

"I think that it is pre-empted by federal law," McKevitt says. "Congress already states that whether you're a search engine, blogger or provider, they immunize them so that the internet can have a free range of ideas."

If the bill were to become law, search engines and other websites would be fined $250 dollars per day for failing to comply with a removal request.

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