Posted by: Clarinette | April 15, 2010

Any right to erase or get forgotten?

Yesterday, we were discussing the right to oblivion or ‘le droit a l’oubli’ as called in French, referring to the work of Mayer-Schönberger, ‘ Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age.’

Whilst I was looking to find an article about Evan Ratliff experience, Katzia Rod, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation had posted a notice on an event with the Evan ‘on how he went underground, and challenged Wired readers to track him down, offering a $5,000 reward.’

On that side of the pond (yes, I love that expression), claiming Britain to be ‘one of the world’s leading surveillance states’ A similar experience is run and shown in the documentary ‘Erasing David’, where David Born vanishes and challenges investigators to find him.

These two experiences are a good demonstration of our digital foot prints.

Shortly after, came the news on my Twitter stream, that the US Library of Congress had ‘announced this morning via its official Twitter account that it will be acquiring the entire archive of Twitter messages back through March 2006. …’
My first reaction was a big surprise, had I dreamed entering the Library of Congress, it wouldn’t have been that way.

Twitter’s Entire Archive Headed to the Library of Congress

That was not enough, came also the news, from the PcWorld online magazine that ‘Google Indexes Your Embarrassing Twitter Trail’!! Just to make it easier to track tweets, taken out of context, and republish them!!! Some would say, tweets are public therefore no expectation of privacy. I do believe we have an expectation of privacy – or control over the spread of our personal data – even in a public sphere. For more detail and argumentation I’d refer you to the work of the American scholar, Daniel Solove.

Google to Index Your Embarrassing Twitter Trail

Just to show you the scope of information concerned, this morning, the published the last statistics on Twitter users and tweets published.

Twitter has 105m registered users, 600m searches per day.. and more numbers from Chirp

I cannot say anything better than what has been said by Michael Zimmer in his Open Questions :

Open Questions about Library of Congress Archiving Twitter Streams

The debate is open and urgent, as mentioned by my friend Rebecca Herold ‘once you put something online you can never take it back! Your attempted delete will be futile.’ Don’t you think it’s important to keep control over our digital foot prints?


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