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

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  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:19AM (#42051545) 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. Or maybe the authorities will get flashy things [bottomline...sights.com]

  • by parodyca (890419) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:29AM (#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.
  • by Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @05:23AM (#42053099)

    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 are deriding politicians for doing boneheaded things with far too much data. Well, this is part of that, but in reverse, and if they're doing it wrong it's up to us to find ways to do it right and nudge them in the right direction.

    DRM became a bad word because big media deployed it to control their customer whom had thought they'd bought something only the seller afterward pulled a legalised fast one. David losing to Goliath until dvdjon came along.

    Data protection in this case wouldn't include money passing hands in the reverse direction. It's more like, well, you put DRM on your SSN when you sign up (and pay) for something that requires it, and you can more or less reliably wipe your SSN out of their databases once they no longer need it.

    No longer having to trust some faceless large entity on their wooly word salad assurances and their pretty face is a nice boon for the individual. Bit of a different power balance there.

    Yet the only real fix is to not store all that data in the first place. This means that a lot of data that's being gathered now must not be gathered at all or perhaps some other data needs to be gathered. Zero-knowledge proofs will likely have a big place in that, say to prove you're old enough without showing your ID card with all that extra data you're forced to give out currently. This'll need new techology, but will prove necessary to really scale out our data use without building databases of ruin [hbr.org].

  • by Phydaux (1135819) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:15AM (#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.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:52AM (#42054329) Homepage Journal

    Your notion of 'exploiting workers' comes out of misunderstanding of voluntary contract obligations based on mutually beneficial agreement. In a free society any worker that feels that he is not treated right has the absolute right to quit, that's all.

    When an employer advertises a job and gov't decides that it will put obligations on the employer to advertise the job in any specific manner (cannot discriminate against anybody, cannot have wage lower than some minimum, cannot do this, cannot do that, cannot pay a woman less than a man, etc.etc.), all of this is destruction of individual freedoms.

    An employer is an individual, he should be able to advertise whatever he wants, that's part of his freedoms: right to own and operate private property, freedom of speech, so freedom to speak one's mind without abuse and discrimination by government, not by other individuals.

    The right to sign a two party contract is paramount, free people cannot allow any gov't to stand between 2 individuals signing any mutually beneficial agreement.

    Of-course there is criminal law (which by the way shouldn't be gov't business either, but there can be criminal law not based on gov't), so this means an employer will be liable for murder for example if he ends up killing the employee (or the other way around), but this in fact has nothing to do with the signed contract.

    Can't sign a contract like this: "I, the employee, agree to be murdered by the employer" and expect that the outside forces that look after the criminal conduct will honour the terms.

    However minimum wage law for example has nothing to do with criminal code, it's not murder to offer somebody a wage that is for example half of some number that gov't arbitrarily chooses to be the minimum for reasons of trying to hide the real problem in the economy: inflation that is created by gov't.

    As to unions, people have the right to free association, this means employees can organise. However they cannot force the employer in fact to negotiate with the union rather than with every employee individually. The employee has the right to quit in search for a better job (better price for selling labour), the employer has the right to fire in search for a better deal (better price for buying labour).

    Health care is a private matter completely, it's none of gov't concern, like all other products and services. The history is clear of-course, every gov't attempt to get into the health care, education, housing and credit markets, banking, energy, etc., makes things much worse and more expensive, not better and cheaper. That's because the free market competitive capitalist system is the best system for production (creation) and distribution of products and services, it pushes for competition rather than collusion, and the worst type of collusion is gov't collusion based on power of the accepted gov't authority.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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