Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Should there be a law that will allow you to delete information about yourself on the internet?

Asked by Dutchess_III (36367points) August 10th, 2014

This question was prompted by the question “Have you ever Googled your name?”. When I Google my name, all kinds of stuff pops up, including pictures of myself. Shouldn’t I have the right to delete it all if I want to?

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12 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, there should be, which is why the European Union has declared a “right to be forgotten.”

The big question though is how far should it apply. Delete public records that have always been public, like birth and marriage and death records? What about public criminal records? Or actions like sports scores that are performed in public?

dappled_leaves's avatar

One would think that such a thing would be beneficial to everyone, but the people who want most to be able to eliminate their online records are those who we don’t want to be able to cover their tracks. That gives one pause.

Google’s right to be forgotten: 70,000 politicians, criminals, and individuals want offending content erased

Paedophile, pediatrician, and doctor in bids to erase internet past

Particularly, I think we should have a way to show that a politician is lying about what he has said or done in the past. Or to be able to see reviews of doctors, or even restaurants for that matter. If everyone removes their own negative press, what value can we place on any information on the internet?

Note: @Dutchess_III there may be ways to remove content that you found, or at least keep it from being publicly visible.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, there is nothing “bad” about what is shown, but it’s still a little unnerving. I mean, if a potential employer googles me and it shows I have an account on Myspace (which I don’t remember creating) that could be a flag that I’m immature.

johnpowell's avatar

It is pretty much bullshit. It should be between the individual and the site hosting the information.

The funny thing is there is now a search engine (forgot the URL) that only searches things that Google has de-indexed due to this law.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@johnpowell For a second there, I thought you were saying that the name of the search engine was Forgot the URL. It would fit!

hud's avatar

Certainly. Unless you return later to use the Internet. And then it should all come back. Either, or…

bea2345's avatar

Not an enforceable idea. What about newspaper archives, reports of legislative proceedings (Hansards), published and unpublished materials in databases around the world? Google and its ilk don’t have a monopoly on stored information. As it is, this preoccupation with privacy sounds unhealthy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh brother. I ask one question and now I’m “preoccupied” with privacy?

JLeslie's avatar

Yes! Write up a bill tomorrow and send it to your congressman. Great idea.

bea2345's avatar

Sorry, @Dutchess_III – I should have added a smiley face to show that it was a joke. But seriously, privacy has always been more of a privilege than a right. It only became an issue (for the middle class) when widespread literacy and the mass production of information came on the scene. I am quite sure that the President of France, say, would not like us knowing some of his habits. Does Putin of Russia wear coloured drawers? (my father’s were always white). A former President of my country liked gambling, and had his favourite casinos. One saw him at the race track in the VIP box and it was not unusual to see the official car outside one of the casinos accompanied by police in dress uniform. It is only fair to add that he was a recreational gamer.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I see your point @bea2345. The thing is, before the internet, if a paper wanted to use your picture or print a quote and attribute it to you, they asked permission first. The only time they didn’t is if you were guilty of a crime.

Things like criminal records should be public, but other things, like what color underwear somebody wears, should be kept private.

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