Friday, October 24, 2014

Not wrong to be forgotten

A few more points after the illuminating debate at the Cambridge Union Society last night (23.10.14).

i) so people are still hung up on the notion that,
because the internet/web/cloud can copy/store things so cheaply,
then deletion is impossible -

first off, that isn't necessarily so,
but even assuming it is,
its tantamount to arguing that
because we can now 3D print guns, we don't have to bother with gun control law...

- in fact, if there is a reason to remove data from publication
(its required by law - because its  defamatory or wrong,
or its required by ethics because the use is no longer relevant,
or its required by emotions - it would hurt someone's feelings again and again)
then the imperative is to embed the right in a law so that we incent people to withold their copies
(which is not the same as _erasure_ but is quite possible, and easily enforced

keeping a copy of my ex-partners photos private is fine (i do) -
re-broadcasting them 35 years later is not.

ii)  preventing search producing a hit on content from i) isn't pointless -
its just a weaker version of stopping people re-publishing stuff
the european court finding was blurry on this
because of the definitions of stakeholders in current law. poor.

iii) the argument that there are many search engines and meta-search,
and that the internet "routes around damage"
so people will setup sites like "blockedbygoogle"
minutes after something is not returned by search, is irrelevant -

if we get the law right, and the right put into action, then technology can work -

scale out of distributing rules for filtering spam (e.g. see how ApamAssinsin shares filter rules, see how ingress filtering and BGP policy checks work, see how legal censorship works etc etc and see how collaborative filtering and recommendation engines work), and
other tricks works vert well (no, not 100% -but we aren't arguing 100% -
we're arguing shifting the balance so
a) people think a bit about this,
b) law that gives victims teeth, so deliberate flouting
earns the perpetrator fines/criminal records, public opprobrium etc

personal clouds, with personal control of flow of data through cloud, and
making the relationships between people and between people and organsations
(whether government or corporate)
more symmetric in terms of control of flow and lifetime of data)
is essential

people get confused about "google do x" or "person re-tweets y" -
the size of the agencies shouldn't
matter - anyone can leverage the internet to scale out cheap copying of data to many,
but should they?, is the question to ask?,
to whom? who is the entitled audience, now? or later? -
see next points:

iv) people are confused that this is censorship -
certainly currently the legal framework, and its "enforcement" by Google is a form of censorship,
because the "right to know" (i.e. public interest)
isn't being tested by an organisation that _represents_ public interest,
in any accountable way - sure, that's a bug, but we can fix that too - that doesn't mean
the right to be forgotten is wrong either

popular journalism (especially in recent years) has not helped :-)

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home