May 27, 2014

Coye Cheshire and the New York Times Analyze the "Right to Be Forgotten"

From The New York Times

It’s Not as Simple as Asking to ‘Be Forgotten’ by Google

By Claire Cain Miller

Mario Costeja, the Spanish lawyer who spurred the European Union’s controversial “right to be forgotten” ruling this month, was livid that a Google search for his name brought up a newspaper article from more than a decade ago about his debts, so he waged a war against Google....

Erasing links to information from Google would do relatively little — and not just because the information would still be available on the website that originally published it. Technologically, keeping things off the Internet is a game of cat and mouse, as anyone who has fought spammers or trolls knows well....

Coye Cheshire, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information, thinks part of the solution might be for people to take responsibility for tracking public data about themselves.

People often tell him they avoid social media because they want to protect their privacy, but avoidance has the opposite effect, he said. It just means that when someone posts information about them, they do not know or are not able to do anything about it.

“I don’t believe that, in many cases, people ‘lost’ any control over their information at all, because they never really had any real control even before the Internet existed,” Mr. Cheshire said. “We often conflate privacy through obscurity with inaccessibility, control or security.”

“I do not think that there is a silver bullet,” he said, “but I do think that at least part of the path forward is to exert some actual control by being informed when possible, instead of relying on privacy through obscurity.”...


Last updated:

October 4, 2016