Friday, December 07, 2012

What Happens to You Here Is Forever

I'm bothered by the fact
You cannot take it back
It goes on record and multiplies at that

— Virgos Merlot

Jeffery Rosen:

In theory, the right to be forgotten addresses an urgent problem in the digital age: it is very hard to escape your past on the Internet now that every photo, status update, and tweet lives forever in the cloud. But Europeans and Americans have diametrically opposed approaches to the problem. In Europe, the intellectual roots of the right to be forgotten can be found in French law, which recognizes le droit à l’oubli—or the “right of oblivion”—a right that allows a convicted criminal who has served his time and been rehabilitated to object to the publication of the facts of his conviction and incarceration. In America, by contrast, publication of someone’s criminal history is protected by the First Amendment, leading Wikipedia to resist the efforts by two Germans convicted of murdering a famous actor to remove their criminal history from the actor’s Wikipedia page.

European regulators believe that all citizens face the difficulty of escaping their past now that the Internet records everything and forgets nothing—a difficulty that used to be limited to convicted criminals. When Commissioner Reding announced the new right to be forgotten on January 22, she noted the particular risk to teenagers who might reveal compromising information that they would later come to regret. She then articulated the core provision of the “right to be forgotten”: “If an individual no longer wants his personal data to be processed or stored by a data controller, and if there is no legitimate reason for keeping it, the data should be removed from their system.”

Link via this roundup. I'm honestly not sure what I think about this. Even when in doubt, I usually err on the side of being a free speech extremist, but part of me also feels like there's something uniquely insidious about the inability to escape the all-seeing, all-knowing judgment of the Borg.


  1. I don't see a disconnect here: "If an individual no longer wants his personal data to be processed or stored by a data controller and there is no legitimate reason for keeping it the data should be removed from their system."

    This is a pretty limited statement, mainly targeting TwitFacePlus and various news sites. It, however, probably doesn't target individual blogs and certainly doesn't target individuals, so your friends on the Slymepit are welcome to continue screencapping Peezus and comparing them to past on-the-record remarks.

    So I think this is a good start, even though, really, you're never going to be able to scrub the internet entirely. At best you can just keep it from coming up on news sites and other trusted sources. Then it's just hearsay again.

  2. Brian M4:53 PM

    Friends on the Slymepit? Yikes.

    Have you seen this Scribbler?

  3. Am I missing something, Brian? I don't recognize any of those names from the Slymepit.

  4. Shanna's joking, based on the FtB "logic" that anyone who points out what a blithering idiot PZ has become must be a misogynist from the Slymepit, which is apparently his go-to boogeyman. I read stuff there like I do at any other blog, but my policy remains as before: I have no friends, no allies, and to quote Peter Steele --

    A sexist pig? I guess it's true
    I hate all men, including you

    Seriously, though, the actual forum itself is not a one-stop-shop for all your vaginal hating needs, no matter how much Peez or his sycophants try to claim otherwise. The people there can all speak for themselves, of course; I would only suggest, as always, that you should see it for yourself rather than just take anyone else's word for it, whether mine or Ophelia's (as I said before, I only decided to check it out to see what Peez was constantly banging on about, and I quickly decided he was being dishonest).

    Yes, those comments are terrible. But again, typing shit on the Internet is cheap and easy. That's why most people prefer it over action.