Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy EU Your Rights Online

Why Big Data Could Sink Europe's 'Right To Be Forgotten' 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the internets-never-forget dept.
concealment tips this news from GigaOm: "Europe's proposed 'right to be forgotten' has been the subject of intense debate, with many people arguing it's simply not practical in the age of the internet for any data to be reliably expunged from history. Well, add another voice to that mix. The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has published its assessment of the proposals (PDF), and the tone is skeptical to say the least. And, interestingly, one of the biggest problems ENISA has found has to do with big data. They say, 'Removing forgotten information from all aggregated or derived forms may present a significant technical challenge. On the other hand, not removing such information from aggregated forms is risky, because it may be possible to infer the forgotten raw information by correlating different aggregated forms.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why Big Data Could Sink Europe's 'Right To Be Forgotten'

Comments Filter:
  • Few ideas are more absurd. They will have to outlaw all recorded media and burn down the libraries. Make ignorance the law of the land. Or maybe the authorities will get flashy things [bottomline...sights.com]

    • by parodyca (890419) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:29AM (#42051599) Homepage
      What about my right to control my server. I look at this 'right to be forgot' as the same sort of over reach which allows media companies to put DRM on my ebook reader or smartphone, then make it illegal for me to remove it. My equipment. My decision. You want to force be to keep or remove any software/data, then you get yourself a court order. I don't see why phantom Imaginary property rights seem to keep trumping rights over real property. Sheesh.
      • You kinda wonder what's next. Does the right to be forgotten include from the minds of people too? Do you have the right to be forgotten from history books?

        Maybe we should ask Mr. Burns for his amnesia ray.

      • Since when is data real property? Or are you a hypocrite - real property for you, imaginary for everyone else?

        • by gomiam (587421)
          Data is not property, that's true. But the magnetic fields on my physical magnetic media are. If you want me to change them you'd better have a good reason... or a judge ordering me to.
          • If you think that magnetic fields are a property you can own, you can take that notion to the court. Otherwise you have to follow the laws. And this is basically what it all is about - you own the physical media, but you don't own the data of other people.

            • by gomiam (587421)
              No, "my own" is the hard disk, as it is. Changing it isn't different than overwriting my printed papers with anything else (even if using Tippex).
              • by gorzek (647352)

                Nonsense. When you buy a book, you own the physical materials--the paper, the ink, the glue--but you don't own the words printed in it.

                Likewise, everything on your hard drive isn't "yours," either. You own the disk, you own the platters, you own the magnets--but you don't own the data the bits represent.

                This is the way it will remain, short of getting all copyright laws abolished.

                • by gomiam (587421)

                  Nonsense. When you buy a book, you own the physical materials--the paper, the ink, the glue--but you don't own the words printed in it.

                  So it is ok if I put some Tippex on your ink and write something else? It's the same issue.

      • by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:50AM (#42051985)

        This is the entire point of legislation - it's a "court order" without having to go to court every time (which is prohibitive for individual and society) on specific kind of information storage.

        Unfortunately most US-based folks would likely not understand this any more then average afghani can understand equality of women. When you never had any expectation of privacy in your culture, another culture with significant presence of such expectation would seem very alien.

      • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:26AM (#42052167) Homepage Journal

        The right to be forgotten is about the right to have your personal data removed from a companies server, when you want to revoke your trust into a company. If it's your server, and you don't store personal data about other people you don't have an issue.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Your average slashdotter would be all up in arms if a corporate entity wanted to remove its data (application, media file etc.) from your personal computer because they no longer trust you (suspect you might be a pirate) despite the fact that they sold you a copy of said data. "Breach of contract!" they might shout.

          But this is somehow different because its a person who wants to remove his data (demographic or otherwise) from a corporate database they no longer trust (OMG, have you actually read this privac

          • by Phrogman (80473)

            They might not have "traded the information as part of some transaction". It may have been inferred as a result of various tracking schemes by advertisers and the website themselves, then aggregated with other data to produce a detailed profile of the individual - which is then sold to various marketing agencies for whatever nefarious purposes they may have. All without the user ever saying "yes" to gathering and collating all that data. This is happening all the time I am sure.

            There is no privacy, there wi

          • by Carewolf (581105)

            Your average slashdotter would be all up in arms if a corporate entity wanted to remove its data (application, media file etc.)

            I don't know about the average, but I would all up in apps over that they consider anything that I own theirs. If it truly was theirs I wouldn't care, but frankly why would I EVER store data belonging to a corporate entity other than my employer?

      • To techies the idea seems absurd, but it's not. Sure, your server, your rules. But what you pull into them is another matter entirely, and the American view that if it's not behind closed curtains, it must be public, doesn't scale.

        Compare, of all places, Japan, where it is in fact customary to "not see" things that are pretty much out in the open out of sheer necessity because too many people are living too close together. In a sense, the internet is worse than Tokyo.

        There's irony here, where the techies ar

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm guessing you don't run a business.

        This is about legislating what people do with they're own personal equipment, this is about what companies do and limiting what they can do with information that would, in the past, be transitory if logged at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There is a fundamental difference between the US and the EU in how personally identifyable data is looked at. In the EU people are practically considered to be the owners of data about them. Users didn't give their data to you, they entrusted you with their data, and you're supposed to take good care of it. That includes using it only for the purpose you collected it for with the user's permission, not passing it on to others, and if this takes effect, removing it if the user request it.

        You talk about imagi

      • This is about companies holding personal data of consumers. In the EU the legal point of view is in general that a person "owns" their personal information. They may entrust it to a company for some transaction, storage or whatever, but these rights granted to the company are limited, and can be revoked if there is no business relation anymore. Without the persons permission you would never even be allowed to store their personal data on your server! You have no inherent right to other peoples personal in
    • Right, but in keeping with the spirit of this intent, policing the extraction of personal information from broad data might have a better chance of getting reasonable legislation than policing its storage. Plus, you might be able to catch someone's use of info easier than its storage of info.

      As TFS says, even if you delete certain portions of data, you can infer the holes from other sources in proper Big Data fashion, so outlawing storage of particular information is not very effective anyway.

      However, I'm

      • Right, but in keeping with the spirit of this intent, policing the extraction of personal information from broad data might have a better chance of getting reasonable legislation than policing its storage. Plus, you might be able to catch someone's use of info easier than its storage of info.

        No, this has actually been tried. It's very difficult to show that someone is using information in any particular way. The main way is to take their data processing software apart and see what it does with what. Doing that on a large scale is seriously not going to fly with anyone -- neither businesses: revealing trade secrets, nor individuals: it's not an effective way of protecting privacy.

    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:20AM (#42052119) Homepage Journal

      Few ideas are more absurd. They will have to outlaw all recorded media and burn down the libraries. Make ignorance the law of the land.

      "Right to be forgotten" is an odd phrase, but it doesn't mean anything like what you seem to think it means. Basically it just means you have the right to request that information which you have provided to a particular data repository be removed from that repository. IOW, no more "we own everything you post forever" policies. Seems reasonable enough.

    • The right to have data miners delete my profile along with associated statistics is absolutelly absurd.

      The right to make my costumers legally unable to play or backup my DRM-ed content for which they payed in anything other than my aproved device and software, and to make it ilegal to comunicate this information to others? That's alright and absolutely reasonable.

  • Let's say you meet The President or Prime Minister in real life. They say something that impacts you so greatly, it changes your entire life. Now - At the end of their life, let's say this law is in effect... But only available to the very wealthy... They decide they want the entire traces of their live erased to guarantee the ability to move on to an afterlife... Since energy/electricity and memories are reflections of each-other - that 'impact - the president had on you.. Is subsequently gone. Erased
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:35AM (#42052223) Homepage Journal

      Let's say you meet The President or Prime Minister in real life. They say something that impacts you so greatly, it changes your entire life.

      I met the Prime Minister once, and it had no effect on my life at all. Then again, the PM in question was John Major, so not really a surprise.

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        Let's say you meet The President or Prime Minister in real life. They say something that impacts you so greatly, it changes your entire life.

        I met the Prime Minister once, and it had no effect on my life at all. Then again, the PM in question was John Major, so not really a surprise.

        He had that effect. Almost all Prime Ministers I can remember a lot of bad or good things they have done. I'm damned if I can remember any policy, enactment or decision good or bad that John Major's government did.

      • lol! But you have a story to talk about, which changes your conversation, right?

        In another words, you'd have no comment like this, which wouldn't solicit a reply....

        My point being: Even meeting people in positions of power, firsthand, changes the conversation and the memories we have, and the discussions we have.

        For instance, I met David Schwimmer (From Friends), briefly, apparently he thought his sh*t didnt stink and he ran in front of me and my wife as we were on our anniversary, pushing us out of
  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:26AM (#42051585)
    If customers want their data forgotten then maybe they didn't want it stored or shared in the first place. The rule should not so much be about data retention but data gathering. The rule should be quite simple. Any organization that gathers data can't share it at all with anyone not directly connected with the reason it was gathered. So my power company needs my address to know where the lights need to be turned on and enough info to bill me. But anyone beyond billing and switching should not have my data, not management, not marketing, and definitely not a "trusted" third party.

    The same with my driver's license that is needed by two small groups of people, the people who issue the license, and the police if they need to know that I am allowed to drive. It should literally be illegal for anyone else to copy anything from my license if it doesn't involve my ability to drive so say a car rental place would be OK. Many bars have taken to scanning driver's licenses as you enter the bar. Then you start getting mail and crap from the bar and anyone else they sell the data to. I met a guy who rewrote the data on the magnetic strip to cause buffer overruns and crash their little hand held units. He regularly went to every bar downtown that had the scanners as the crash wasn't a simple reboot of the unit as some remote server lost its mind requiring someone to come in.

    These organizations find this data valuable but somehow think they can take that valuable thing from us without negotiation. I say you want my data you can pay me $1,000,000 per byte plus royalties on resale.
    • I agree with the first part in that if you sign up for facebook, they are pretty clear about what they are going to do with your data. I think it is just plain stupid that anonymous wants to declare war on them because they do exactly what their customers agreed to let them do. If both parties agree, then where is this supposed injustice that needs to be corrected?

      However if the customer wants to opt in to having their information shared, they should be allowed to do that. The information I post to linkedin

      • You mean like if, say, a store were to use datamining to figure out you are pregnant, perhaps before you even realize it yourself, and sends you a flyer with specials for baby supplies?

        And say, you haven't been banging your husband in a while, and he wonders why you are getting these kind of flyers?

        Or you are eighteen and living at home and your parents belong to a religious/ethnic group against premarital sex?

        Or they figure out your gay, but they happen to send their helpful information to your old address

        • Are these things you're supposed to be ashamed or embarrassed about or something?

          • They are things which could get you beaten up or cut off financially or killed for the sake of your family's honour.

            • If you live in such a place where that is likely to happen, I think market demographics are the least of your privacy concerns.

              • News Flash...this crap can happen ANYWHERE.

                Certainly gay bashing and violence over infidelity isn't unknown in North America and Europe.

                Sure, the attacker is much more likely to be prosecuted and convicted than in, say, a middle eastern country, but that is pretty meaningless to the victim.

      • If both parties agree, then where is this supposed injustice that needs to be corrected?

        Because, as someone else noted, one idiot on Facebook can share data about *other* people--people who never consented to have that data shared, or perhaps never even joined Facebook.

    • I don't know if you remember MacOS prior to OSX, but classically it had two "forks" - the data fork which compares to the typical flat file we all know, and a properties fork which is something like the metadata in a file system (time created, ownership, permissions, etc) but with a much richer syntax.

      OSX lost that separation and now uses a Unix-y model.

      If we wanted data to be trustably limited in scope, then we'd have to structure *all* our data everywhere so that it contains the literal data being saved,

    • by seifried (12921) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:54AM (#42052009) Homepage
      But let's say I didn't share my data with Facebook, my friends and associates did. E.g. photos from an event I attended get posted, they tag me in the photos, now Facebook recognition tags me (well in theory..). Someone else enters my birthday in order to be notified a week in advance so they don't forget to email me a happy birthday. Someone enters my home town (actually happened on linkedin, grr). So now Facebook has my name, bday, address, photos of me, and I never logged into Facebook. That is why we need the right to be forgotten.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        The proposed EU rules only cover data you share yourself, not stuff others put up. This seems to be a common misconception on Slashdot. You would not, for example, have any automatic right to take down a blog post or news site article about yourself.

        Having said that they EU has already clamped down on facial recognition for non-registered users and is looking at banning the creation of "shadow profiles" based on information publicly available or that others enter.

      • by boristdog (133725)

        This issue makes me think of updating the old Robert Heinlein quote: "An armed society is a polite society."

        In this age nothing is forgotten, so anything bad thing you do can always be brought up against you later. (Kinda like being married, amiright?)
        So perhaps with ubiquitous data retention and access, society will gradually start being more polite and people will stop being such jackasses to one another, because they won't be able to deny it later. At least it's a possible silver lining.

    • If customers want their data forgotten then maybe they didn't want it stored or shared in the first place. The rule should not so much be about data retention but data gathering. The rule should be quite simple. Any organization that gathers data can't share it at all with anyone not directly connected with the reason it was gathered. So my power company needs my address to know where the lights need to be turned on and enough info to bill me. But anyone beyond billing and switching should not have my data, not management, not marketing, and definitely not a "trusted" third party.

      Redistribution of personal data is strictly regulated already in the EU. Everything you describe is already done. You're not even allowed to move personal data of European customers outside of the EU by default.

      You should also have the right to revoke your trust into an organization, and have them remove your personal information. That's what the right to be forgotten is about. Rights-wise this is obvious, technically it is difficult.

    • The rule should be quite simple. Any organization that gathers data can't share it at all with anyone not directly connected with the reason it was gathered.

      The problem is that companies get bigger and bigger. Soon, your e-mail company IS your power company IS your telco, etc.

  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:55AM (#42051711) Homepage
    When big corporations want "their" data removed from a server farm they simply send a email/letter to the owner and he has to remove it.

    What is the problem with doing the same for people?

    Facebook actually makes it hard for people to remove their content from the service, and it doesn't even say "delete", it says "remove from timeline" (but not from the whole system).

    If I want my Facebook history Wiped, it is my right to do that, it is *my* data and Facebook and others shouldn't have a operating license unless they make it really simple for people to "be forgotten".

    • by antdude (79039)

      What online services actually wipe data? No one does AFAIK. :(

  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:55AM (#42051713) Journal
    As long as I have my right to not care. In the unlikely event I stumble upon your embarrassing "e-foible", I do not judge, and will soon forget. Unless you "protest too much", which might spark a memory...
    • In the unlikely event I stumble upon your embarrassing "e-foible", I do not judge, and will soon forget.

      That doesn't work past the point (which we've already reached) where it's not real human beings considering personal data and causing significant consequences to the subject of that data, but automated systems that can essentially check everyone for everything they have data about.

      If there are no systems in place to limit the decisions that can be made by such automated systems without human review, or inadequate checks and balances to put things right when the machines make a mistake, real people wind up s

  • not any government policy or commercial entity

    they call it disruptive technology for a reason. like the printing press, or the gun, or the atom bomb, it dramatically changes the status quo

    it's simple: if you don't want it to live forever, don't put it on the internet. if you put it on the internet, it lives for ever

    that's about the truth of it

    but i suppose many people out there are like music company executives trying to impose legal constructs from the cassette tape age on the internet: unwelcome to accept ugly reality on the subject

    well i'm sorry, you need to accept this as reality, no matter your feelings

    one other point: privacy is NOT dead

    all you have to do is stop offering parts of your life to the internet

    the insane part is feeding private parts of your life to the internet, and then whining about a lack of privacy

    • That really gets to the crux of the matter. If the EU managed to achieve the technical and regulatory means to this end, the simple fact is that some aggregator or versioning service outside EU jurisdiction can render all that effort meaningless.

      I'm a member of several technical mailing lists, with many of the archives stores in North America and some even mirrored, because such archives can prove invaluable and will likely remain so for many years to come. Simply put, not only is the EU's goal likely hopel

      • it's exactly the same point this same slashdot crowd makes about intellectual property: "information wants to be free man"

        that's an ugly truth for music conglomerates. it's also an ugly truth for dumb teenagers. manage your private info, and don't share with the internet details you don't want the world to know. it's as simple as that: it falls upon YOU to manage your private details

        what's insane is freely giving your private details to a public network, then deciding it's up to a corporation or a governmen

        • The problem arises when someone other than you posts your information. Do you trust everyone who knows you to be as careful about your personal data as you are? You can't manage your private details without being able to prevent other people giving out your data.

    • by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:56AM (#42052033)

      Unfortunately you make one massive presumption that is simply impossible to be true, which in turn collapses your house of cards.

      You presume that all information about any given person is supplied only by that person.

      In modern world, it's often the exact opposite. Aside of a few attention whores, most of the "moderately embarrassing info" is posted by people who know the person in question but are not the person in question.

    • Sorry, but this is just a different version of the good old "if you have nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear".

      • and assume you aren't purposefully twisting the words i say, just not understanding them

        if you don't want everyone to know about your large dildo collection, don't store it on your front porch

        it's not "if you have nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear", it's "if you don't want the world to know about it, hide it"

        it has nothing to do with corporate entities or evil governments, it has to do with you managing your own social existence

        you don't get to put something on a public network and then complain a

        • I am not twisting your words, I just don't agree.
          It is like you saying "if you don't want cold calls, don't publish your phone in the phonebook". Yes, telemarketers abuse the phonebook data, but no, it is not supposed to be that way! The fact that I have published something does not make it free for all. And the fact that I have entrusted some private information to a corporation does not mean that I shall not be able to revoke this trust (and thus request to remove said information) after I change my mind

          • go ahead, enter conditions and contracts with your public data

            how are you going to enforce that, nevermind that the contract is an absurdity because it's similar to saying "i'm going to give you this water in a sieve, and i want you to control how it comes out of the sieve"

            you expect the impossible, because the condition your data exists in is not in a controlled environment. go talk to a music industry executive if you don't understand what i am saying

            • How are company servers not a controlled environment?

              • what a stupid question. it's a wide open internet, not one company server

                look:

                do you understand why the music industry is dying because of the internet?

                good

                now apply that understanding to your proposal, because you are asking for the same damn unenforceable impossible thing

                • what a stupid question. it's a wide open internet, not one company server

                  I am not concerned about wide open internet, I am concerned about my data as used by a particular company. This is a way of punishing a breech of trust: screw me over and I disallow the usage of my data. Everyone else on the internet may use it, but not you.

                  do you understand why the music industry is dying because of the internet?

                  Music industry is by no means dying. They just indulge in professional moan-fests, that's all. They sell a

                  • I am not concerned about wide open internet, I am concerned about my data as used by a particular company.

                    "i am not concerned about the ocean. i only care about what happens in this boat"

                • what a stupid question. it's a wide open internet, not one company server

                  look:

                  do you understand why the music industry is dying because of the internet?

                  Last I looked, they actually weren't doing that badly, after learning some hard lessons... but that's besides the point.

                  now apply that understanding to your proposal, because you are asking for the same damn unenforceable impossible thing

                  This akin to arguing that theft should not be illegal; after all, a law cannot stop somebody from stealing, and clearly thefts still happens every day, too, so what is the point in forbidding it in the first place?

                  Yet it seems a majority of people think that outlawing theft is a good idea anyway, and that social contracts (which laws are, in the end) in general have a reason to exist.

                  Go fi

                  • it requires that you retain control of your information and be notified of every bit of your life that is accessed by any node

                    the question is why you think this is possible, or, why do you want to destroy the internet. you do realize the same set of controls, when proposed by media companies, was decried as freedom destruction

                    then the real question is why you define your social information, that you chose to release to an open network, as something to be defined as property that can somehow be "stolen", nev

    • by MrL0G1C (867445)

      'the internet destroyed forgetting'

      Really!?, that's complete baloney, you try visiting some bookmarks that are 5 years old, most of them are gone. The internet not only forgets, I'd argue it's actually rather bad at remembering. Google doesn't cache half as much as it used to and even then, the cache is gone within a month anyway. The internet archive does some caching but only individual pages and only when it's prodded AFAIK.

      So where is this mythical 'never forgetting' that you speak of? Ah, you mean Face

    • Nope, there are other people who will put your information online, against your express will. I've been "tagged" in facebook photos with my real full name even though I don't use facebook. Facebook never forgets.
    • by elucido (870205)

      not any government policy or commercial entity

      they call it disruptive technology for a reason. like the printing press, or the gun, or the atom bomb, it dramatically changes the status quo

      it's simple: if you don't want it to live forever, don't put it on the internet. if you put it on the internet, it lives for ever

      that's about the truth of it

      but i suppose many people out there are like music company executives trying to impose legal constructs from the cassette tape age on the internet: unwelcome to accept ugly reality on the subject

      well i'm sorry, you need to accept this as reality, no matter your feelings

      one other point: privacy is NOT dead

      all you have to do is stop offering parts of your life to the internet

      the insane part is feeding private parts of your life to the internet, and then whining about a lack of privacy

      Privacy is still dead. Anyone in your life can offer your life to the internet.

    • the insane part is feeding private parts of your life to the internet, and then whining about a lack of privacy

      When you call a friend on the phone and share some information, you don't expect the phone company to run away with that information.

      So why should a social network be any different? Yes, I'm sharing information with more than one friend, but (at least in my case) certainly not with the world.

      I totally don't see where the confusion comes from. Big data is not allowed to use my information in any way I did not intend. Period.

      • Phone company sends me a bill. Facebook doesn't.

        You are not the customer, you are the product. It's the price of "free".

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          You are both. Facebook needs your custom, otherwise they would have no users and hence no advertising revenue.

    • >all you have to do is stop offering parts of your life to the internet Bullshit. If you use a utility company, buy a house, use a credit card, get a bank account, buy or rent a car, or sign up for internet access you've already signed away your rights to your information through boilerplate terms of service. You might say "so don't sign" but in the real world that presents an impossible situation.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:27AM (#42052179) Homepage Journal

    ... de-identification is an area of active research, because we'd really like to be able to mine all that juicy medical record data without infringing on patients' privacy rights. The gold standard so far seems to be Vanderbilt's Synthetic Derivative [vanderbilt.edu], which cleverly alters individual records enough that they can't be traced back to the actual patient. If these records are then used to create aggregate data, then attempts to reconstruct patient records by "correlating different aggregated forms" won't work, because they'll just reconstruct the SD instead. It seems to me that a similar two-stage process could be applied in a number of realms, so Google or whoever could still do all the "Big Data analytics" they want without raising privacy problems.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:32AM (#42052211) Journal

    I think some would argue that there is a right to remember. The Wayback Machine, for instance, has been instrumental in proving corporate malfeasance. Do we really want to lose that?

  • They can delete your data but they don't want to so they tell you it's a nearly impossible task. Yet if a fellow corporation asked, the data would disappear. People need to have a backbone and stand up for themselves.
  • It's always a situation where we are using technological means to adapt to our human flaws or flaws in our own inability to accept embarrassing information as a society. Instead another way of looking at it is if everyone looks stupid, and embarrassing, eventually that becomes the new normal and we evolve and adapt.

    The rules have to change as to what a "good person" is to include far more people. "Good people" should be allowed to look bad without being ruined.

  • You can't guarantee that you've erased all data about a person unless there is a unique identifier attached to their data. Otherwise, you could plausibly say, "we didn't know that browsing history was referring to John Doe."

    So the "right to be forgotten" carries the risk of inviting the requirement that you be tracked more closely before you are forgotten. It's a little bit like being told you have to provide your DNA so the authorities can be sure you aren't the criminal they're looking for – and
  • This is one of the things I found truly visionary in BS: Caprica. The idea that your personality, even your entire being, can be inferred from all the data that's being kept about you. Just, in the real world it's more scary.
    BTW, before Caprica there was Gibson's Neuromancer, which featured 'Constructs'. A bit the same, but didn't incorporate Big Data to help create the construct.
  • Way back, the US Military, probably under the guise of DARPA, wanted a new database written. The concept was that it could track, for example, the salaries of all civil servants. If someone queried for the salary for one particular civil servant, the database would refuse to return that data unless the requester had the specific security clearance required (the need to know).

    A clever requester might know that one civil servant working in one particular division might be the one and only manager. As such

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @05:16AM (#42052791)
    This pre-dates the internet, as is demonstrated by this apocryphal story:

    "I was walking in the hills when I came across a man who looked as though he carried the cares of the world on his shoulders. I introduced myself and asked him what was wrong.

    The man pointed to a bay in the distance and said: "look at all those ships down there. Do you know who built them?". "No", I replied. " I did", her replied. After a pause he said "but do you think they call me Dai the ship builder?.... no"

    He then pointed to the city and and said "look at all those houses down there. Do you know who built them?". "Was it you?" I asked. "Yes", said the man, "but do you think they call me Dai the house builder?.... no"

    He then pointed at a fine new church building , saying "See that church.... I designed that myself... but they don't call me Dai the Architect either".

    With a sigh he turned to me and said: "....... but you shag one sheep"

  • We come across this regularly in confidentiality agreements with totally inappropriate clauses in them, for instance:

    Must remove all copies of and derivative works from all backup media, databases, disks, etc.

    You can set up systems that allow for some of this, but I can think of many cases where expunging derivative works can be practically impossible without violating some other piece of keeping-records-post-Enron kind of legislation (and we are in Australia with NO US subsidiaries). For instance, I could

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So the argument is: because it is impractical, we cannot have such a rule?

    So why exactly is sharing music illegal?

    Either the law does not need to be practical, or we need to abolish laws that ask impossible things.

  • I wonder how much of this is genuine and how much is distortion of the news, sponsored by corporations with a vested interest in not having this legislation passed?

    I don't think one can fault the intentions behind this legislation: A citizen should have the final say concerning any personal data. This is important when it comes to things like credit card information and other personal information, and it is perfectly feasible for a company to delete a person's information from their systems, when that data

  • So now that someone actually wants to protect your rights and the control of your information you are against it?
    And when you have no control of your private information that is also wrong.

  • by Phydaux (1135819) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:15AM (#42054009)

    In the UK (I don't know about the rest of the EU) an individual can send a subject access request to a company or organisation and that organisation has 40 days to send you all the information they have on you. Companies have been doing this for years now. It doesn't seem so hard to change the query from a SELECT to a DELETE.

    Now the paper in the article talks about how publicly available information may be copied (via the web) without the original author/organisation knowing, e.g. you could copy this post and store/publish it else where and neither slashdot or I would know, so you can't guarantee that the data will be completely deleted. But personally I don't think this is that big of a deal. If I want company Foo to remove all the information they have on me, for whatever reason, what do I care that company Bar also has information on me?

    I think, to a point, an individual should be responsible for tracking all the information that they want removed, and companies/organisations should be responsible for acting on legitimate requests to remove the information.

  • A few years ago, there was a lawsuit where a guy who had been convicted of murder sued Wikipedia to get his name and crime details removed. This was based on some German privacy laws, but could this fall under a Right To Be Forgotten as well? Could we get people suing individuals who post information about them (especially true information) because those people would rather the incidents be forgotten? Could posting "I just saw X and Y getting quite cozy over lunch together" on Facebook lead to a lawsuit

  • I wonder what will happen when the people who are teenagers now grow up and want to run for politics. Most of them have spent the last few years doing extremely embarrassing things online (from an adult's perspective) and all this is going to get dug up by their opponents when they run for office.

    That's when you might start to see a push for these "rights to be forgotten".

  • Man, you would think they would have learned when they required every website operator in the world to flash a sign about cookies that they don't know enough about the internet to govern it adequately. These people are intentionally ignorant, and it would be annoying, if it wasn't so adorable.
  • Jesus Christ!

    It's called a Robinson list!

    We use it in Pharma every other day! Just match the inferred info against that list and if the person being referred is in the list, you cannot use the info. Period.

    Instead of trying to chase every other bit of information to delete it (ludicrous and utter impossible), use opt-in.

    It's not so hard...

Real Programmers don't write in FORTRAN. FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies. FORTRAN is for wimp engineers who wear white socks.

Working...