Re: do we have a right to be forgotten?

NB: the views expressed are my own and may not represent the views of my

I think that many people believe that information is out there for good, and
that society is adjusting to a new normal -- everyone has done things that
they may at some point regret, and that we need to adjust as a society to
the fact that this information is out there. You're not going to find an
employee/spouse/... who has nothing bad about them on the Internet.
Certainly I see a number of young people who think nothing of posting
pictures of their drunken selves (often under 21) on Facebook for all to
see. I would argue that they do so not because they believe they have a
right / expectation that such information is recallable at a later date, but
rather because societal views are slowly shifting to a recognition that yes,
we all have been in a similar situation at some point, and in the grand
scheme of things it's not such a big deal. Look at Bill Clinton and his
famous quote "When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or
two, and I didn't like it. I didn't inhale and never tried it again."

The persistence of information is hardly new. A hundred years ago, whatever
a newspaper published about someone (accusations from a prosecutor or what
have you) are probably still accessible on microfiche in libraries around
the country, regardless of the eventual outcome of that trial. The
information is simply more readily accessible, but it's not like the
information wasn't out there previously.

I'm not sure which way you're arguing, but frankly I'm not sure that we have
ever had the right to recall information, nor frankly the means --
otherwise, if we do, I want to go back to elementary school and "recall" the
time another kid called me dorky, or "recall" from people's memory the time
I let a goal through as keeper and lost the game for my team, or heck, why
don't I recall everything bad that has ever been noted of me until I can
pose for a saint? How far do you go?

On Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 8:37 PM, David Singer <> wrote:

> OK, but then we find
> Teacher put on admin. leave for having acted in pornographic movies -- in
> the distant past.
> <
> >
> She did nothing illegal;  heck, if she had, she would have served her time
> and then to a large extent it wouldn't be legal to use that against her. But
> society punished her anyway.
> And even in a slander or libel case, one doesn't get the right to have the
> accusations become as if they never existed; one gets the right to rebut and
> seek damages for the consequences.
> Do we really have a right to insist that facts about us become un-known?
> On Mar 14, 2011, at 14:24 , Ian Fette (イアンフェッティ) wrote:
> That would be doubleplusungood.
> On Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 2:18 PM, David Singer <> wrote:
>> <
>> >
>> Personally, I hope not.  If the mechanisms exist such that I can exercise
>> them and cause myself to be forgotten, someone else can exercise those same
>> mechanisms on anyone's behalf.
>> Anyone want to be an 'unperson'? <
>> David Singer
>> Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.
> David Singer
> Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.

Received on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 04:06:32 UTC