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Politics

New UK laws could erase your cringey teenage Facebook photos

The government has proposed new data protection legislation.

The State Opening Of Parliament 2017

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the State Opening Of Parliament in the House of Lords in London.

WPA Pool / Getty Images

New rules to keep you safe online have been proposed by the UK government, including the option to ask social networks like Facebook to remove anything you shared before you turned 18.

The proposed Data Protection Bill was announced by the Queen as part of today's Queen's Speech to Parliament, where potential new laws are floated by the newly elected government.

The legislation would protect the "right to be forgotten", which allows you to remove embarrassing or misleading information about you from the internet. That includes allowing people to remove anything shared about them when they were young, cleaning up evidence of youthful folly that might have got in the way of future job prospects.

The laws would also modernise police use of data, as well as facilitating the sharing of data between law enforcement and ant-terrorist agencies in the UK and overseas.

The Queen also referred to new legislation around Brexit, the UK's planned exit from the European Union.

The proposed laws still need some thought, according to campaigners. "We need to ensure that internet companies have as much incentive to fully protect free speech as they do to remove illegal content," said Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group. "We would hope that a Digital Charter's regulatory framework will include independent or judicial oversight of material that is taken down by internet companies, to ensure that the free speech of UK citizens is not placed in the hands of private companies without any safeguards."