Thursday, October 4, 2012

It’s About Time: Privacy, Information Lifecycles, and the Right to Be Forgotten

Ambrose, Meg Leta. "It's About Time: Privacy, Information Lifecycles, and the Right to Be Forgotten." Stanford Technology Law Review 16 (2012).

From the article: "The current consensus is that information, once online, is there forever. Content permanence has led many European countries, the European Union, and even the United States to establish a right to be forgotten to protect citizens from the shackles of the past presented by the Internet. But, the Internet has not defeated time, and information, like everything, gets old, decays, and dies, even online. Quite the opposite of permanent, the Web cannot be self-preserving. One study from the field of content persistence, a body of research that has been almost wholly overlooked by legal scholars, found that 85% of content disappears in a year and that 59% disappears in a week, signifying a decrease in the lifespan of online content when compared with previous studies…. Some of the proposed legislation make exceptions for historical, statistical, and public safety needs, but none of them include time, a vital element to the information life cycle. The article concludes by working through specific issues like revived interest, the integrity and objectivity of the Internet, and the importance of time in protecting the interests other information needs. Permanence is not yet upon us, and therefore, now is the time to develop policies and practices that will support good decisions, preserve our cultural history, and protect the future of the past, as well as protect the privacy rights of individuals that will live with the information and a society that may suffer from the threat of a permanent record." Read more