July 19, 2013

The right to be forgotten and digital identity

Philosophy

The right to be forgotten and digital identity

The web never forgets; everything that we publish (images, texts and lots more) remains traceable and indelible, maybe forever.  Consequently, many countries, also beyond the European Union itself, are working to set up a series of rules and regulations aimed at protecting what was recognized, even before the digital age, as an irrefutable right to be forgotten.

With the internet however, all that changed; not only because it is incredibly easy to trace anyone’s information but also because the information available, an individual’s data and tracks, have been infinitely multiplied.  Moreover, the sources themselves risk being utterly unreliable, precisely because publishing on the web is such a simple activity.

From the adolescent uploading a compromising photo, to the imprudent joke about someone’s boss on Facebook, to the hate-filled post of an ex-fiancé and the phenomenon of cyber-bullying, the web conserves it all, beyond our control and without our consent.

Naturally it is difficult to envisage a return to the privacy that we experienced until recent years, and any suggestion of giving up the vast number of opportunities available to us is unthinkable.  The internet has altered, in an almost Darwinian fashion, our way of life, becoming a fully integrated part of our ‘second nature.’  But the topic of the “right to delete” will become increasingly important.

Whilst waiting for the legislator to address it, we can think about it ourselves, if only for a few seconds, each time we are about to click the icon ‘publish.’

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