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Eric Schmidt: Teens' Mistakes Will Never Go Away 335

Posted by Soulskill
from the then-teens-will-just-stop-caring-about-mistakes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Speaking at the Hay Festival in the U.K. this weekend, Google's Eric Schmidt spoke about the permanence of your online presence, and how that will affect kids growing up in an online world. 'We have never had a generation with a full photographic, digital record of what they did. We have a point at which we [Google] forget information we know about you because it is the right thing to do.' He makes the point that a lot of respectable, upstanding adults today had dubious incidents as kids and teenagers. They were able to grow up and move past those events, and society eventually forgot — but today, every notable misdeed is just a Google search away. CNET's coverage points out that 'mistakes' can often be events that put somebody's life on track. 'A word or an act can seem like a mistake when it happens — and even shortly afterward. In years to come, though, you might look back on it and see that, though it created friction and even hurt at the time, it served a higher and more character-forming purpose in the long run.' Of course, it's also true that some mistakes a simply indicators that somebody's a schmuck." Schmidt also made an interesting comment in an interview with The Telegraph while he was in the U.K. He said, "You have to fight for your privacy, or you will lose it." This is quite different from his infamous 2009 remark: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
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Eric Schmidt: Teens' Mistakes Will Never Go Away

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  • What's worse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @08:33AM (#43826727)
    is many of them don't realize the long term ramifications of what they are making readily available online. They think that simply because they limit access to a few friends or don't tag the pictures with their names they are keeping things private. Coupled with a belief "people won't or don't care" makes them somewhat oblivious to the privacy issues. Unfortunately, when they don't get / lose a job because of something that was found online they will realize the importance; but it will be too late. Granted, people make mistakes and shouldn't bear the burden of them forever; but if given the choice between candidate A, where you can find those mistakes on line, and B, where you can't, B will generally win.
    • Re:What's worse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kheldan (1460303) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @09:20AM (#43826897) Journal
      In typical kid fashion, they think "that will never happen to me!", and in typical kid fashion, they're completely wrong.

      Memo to youth of today: You hate it when your parents or your siblings or your teachers never seem to forget all the dumb things you'e done, and how they keep getting brought up and used as leverage against you? Well, guess what: The internets never forget anything you've posted on it, or that someone else posted about you, and as the OP says, your future employers, your future schools, your government, maybe even that girl or boy you're interested in? They'll be able to access all of it, in it's terrible glory, and you will never be able to escape it. So think twice about what you're doing online.
      • by lxs (131946) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @09:26AM (#43826927)

        I can live with that, but I hate it when the internet tells me to clean my room and take out the garbage.

        Also this. [xkcd.com]

      • by drolli (522659)

        Memo to everybody:

        Today, googleling sombody who i get in contact with is standard. Be it just for finding his master/phd thesis or publications. I would never google to figure out somebodies personal views on somthing. But (really happened) if i google to find something about his academic/profressional life and the only thing which turns up is that he was active in the student church or students christian mission, then i cant help but being biased, for several reasons:

        a) i take that as an inciator which pre

        • Yeah, if I were you, I wouldn't post that with my real name either...

          Memo to drolli: What's your real name?
        • Re:What's worse (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sjames (1099) on Monday May 27, 2013 @03:43AM (#43831157) Homepage

          If you're hoping to hire someone, there are few options. They were either fired (not a good sign) never have been employed before (not a good sign), they are moving for personal reasons (neutral, but perhaps bad since they might do it again), or they are looking for work because that have a pessimnistic view of their current employment.

          So, either you resign yourself to the fact that you would never hire anyone willing to come work for you or just try to not be the sort of employer people tend to get pessimistic about.

    • Re:What's worse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by danlip (737336) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @09:57AM (#43827055)

      Unfortunately, when they don't get / lose a job because of something that was found online they will realize the importance

      It's highly unlikely the employer will tell them why they didn't get the job, so they probably won't realize.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by ShanghaiBill (739463) *

        It's highly unlikely the employer will tell them why they didn't get the job, so they probably won't realize.

        In many cases the employer will not tell them because the discrimination is illegal. I check social media before hiring. If I see a photo of someone holding their newborn twins, I am going to be significantly less likely to hire that person. I don't need a sleep deprived clock watcher. But I would not tell them the reason.

      • Re:What's worse (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @09:54PM (#43829973) Homepage

        What the don't realise is exactly what is happening. A one time mistake when published is interpreted externally not as a one time mistake but as a pattern of behaviour that happened to be exposed one time. This is what causes the real long term harm. We all have made judgemental mistakes, made embarrassing decisions, what the internet does with those for today's youth and of course for foolish adults, is to turn one offs into who you are. The internet tends to define people by their published mistakes.

        Privacy folks, fight for it, or every single mistake you make will define publicly who you are. Now is that fair or unfair, neither, from a distance it is the easiest, safest way to view it. Either you are foolish enough to continually repeat that behaviour or you are foolish enough to allow it to get published, either way, you are foolish and a risk.

    • Re:What's worse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26, 2013 @10:04AM (#43827103)

      The mistake we old folks make is assuming that we'll be the one's evaluating their candidacy. Their peers will be. Culture will shift and what is acceptable will change. Every generation's parents thinks their kids are doing something that will ruin their future chances in life. It's rarely the case.

      We just think that photos of their teen/college years are too far and too unforgivable, but like generations before us, we're wrong. They'll be fine.

    • Re:What's worse (Score:5, Informative)

      by theskipper (461997) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @10:26AM (#43827185)

      Case in point, Emma Way and her infamous cyclist tweet:
      http://ipayroadtax.com/no-such-thing-as-road-tax/i-knocked-a-cyclist-off-his-bike-i-have-right-of-way-he-doesnt-even-pay-road-tax/ [ipayroadtax.com]

      What's interesting is that she won't take responsibility for what she did (based on a video interview with her lawyer present) and goes so far as to blame her victim which is creating even more notoriety. It's the Streisand effect which makes things worse down the road. If she simply admitted that she was wrong, future employers might consider a little sympathy. Instead all that resides in the websphere is an increasingly bad portrait of this woman. Which appears deserved in this case.

      • If she simply admitted that she was wrong, future employers might consider a little sympathy

        ^ This. Reminds me quite a lot of dongle-gate woman for the same inability to comprehend the actual problem.

        Also relevant to this "internet-never-forgets" topic is the fact that before it was deleted, Emma Way's twitter history showed a posting with a photo of her car speedometer at 95mph... oh look, here's a copy: Emma Way doing 95mph [ning.com]

    • Re:What's worse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Sunday May 26, 2013 @11:10AM (#43827387) Journal

      Actually I think the opposite, it just shows its time for America to grow the fuck up and stop being a country of hypocrite prissy pants. There isn't a single person reading this that hasn't done something face palming stupid at one time in their life and in many countries in Europe and Asia if they didn't make that a habit it would get written off as "Oh well he was just (insert sowing oats, dumb kid, etc)" and that would be that.

      Its always been America that is such a damned prude that you can't show a tit without a knife buried in it, we've always been waaaay too fucking right wing, bible thumping, and puritanical for our own good and its time to wake the fuck up, accept that shit happens, and move into the 21st century with the rest of the planet. These new startups coming along are not gonna be made by Polly Prissypants, they are gonna give a shit about whether you can perform, not WTF you did on Spring break 3 years ago and they'll be happy to take those performers you're passing on and kick you ass with them, so grow the fuck up already. Its a new world out there, stop acting like its the God damned 1950s for fucks sake.

  • Generational gap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26, 2013 @08:34AM (#43826729)

    Kids of today will simply grow up to hold the attitude that literally everyone has made mistakes in their past, especially so while young, and most things a person did won't be held against them.

    It will really be our generation that has the hardest time with this.
    Both in expecting out of others what you are unable and unwilling to do yourself, as well as "losing out" due to the consequences of doing so.

    Once that kid grows up and looks for a job, it will be those of us who are older who will still hold childhood mistakes against them and miss out of any and all benefits they would bring to the company.
    At the same time that grown kid will not have similar issues applying for work with their peers, so those companies will gain and move ahead.

    • Just think of future politics. It'll be even more difficult to find a squeaky-clean politician, and you can imagine every campaign manager will be trawling the opponent's pasts and putting every little thing they did or said wrong up on public display.

    • by EzInKy (115248)

      Once a thief, always a thief. I doubt that this view of a person's trustibility will change in a single generation. Kids really should be taught the importance that reputation plays on their lot in life.

      • Kids really should be taught the importance that reputation plays on their lot in life.

        It is not difficult to see that many people seem to be shallow imbeciles. But whether or not your 'mistakes' (and what qualifies as a mistake varies from employer to employer) were posted to Facebook, chances are you've done things that certain employers may find objectionable.

    • This... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by denzacar (181829) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @09:25AM (#43826919) Journal

      Kids of today will simply grow up to hold the attitude that literally everyone has made mistakes in their past, especially so while young, and most things a person did won't be held against them.

      Everyone already considers mistakes done as a toddler irrelevant, and most do so for mistakes done as a preteen as well.
      This will just push the age limit for acceptability of "sins of youth" further.

      At the same time, it will shine some light on what we as a society are willing to forgive and forget on account of "being young and crazy".
      My guess... Drinking, drugs, questionable fashion choices in the form of tattoos and piercings... maybe even some small crimes like shoplifting.
      On the other hand, serious crimes probably won't be so easily forgiven.

      But the most fun bit to watch will be what happens to the cases where one's old beliefs, ideas and words are brought back years later.
      Will it be OK for a young boy/man to join a radical group based on some rather violent ideas he, as an angry teenager, believes to be true, and later realizing how nonsensical it all was to just move on - or will he have no other choice but to stick with that crowd his entire life as it's the only group that will accept him?

      • Re:This... (Score:4, Informative)

        by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Sunday May 26, 2013 @10:41AM (#43827253) Homepage

        It will be interesting to see what happens to Paris Brown. In case you don't know she was given the job of Youth Crime Commissioner at 17 but then forced out of it for comments she posted on Twitter between the ages of 14 and 16. Apparently one year isn't long enough for such actions to be considered in the past.

        Thing is anyone who Google's her in the future will instantly be reminded of this incident and presented with hate-mongering articles from the Daily Mail talking about what a horrible, racist, homophobic drug abuser she is.

        Consider that 15 years ago the Daily Mail didn't put its hate filled rants on the internet so a year or two later everyone would probably have forgotten about her and any potential employer would have a hard time finding out about it.

      • by russotto (537200)

        Will it be OK for a young boy/man to join a radical group based on some rather violent ideas he, as an angry teenager, believes to be true, and later realizing how nonsensical it all was to just move on - or will he have no other choice but to stick with that crowd his entire life as it's the only group that will accept him?

        Oh, we passed that line before the Internet was formed. Stop me if this is sounding familiar: "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of..."
        Two endings to it, "the Communist party

      • by JDG1980 (2438906)

        Everyone already considers mistakes done as a toddler irrelevant, and most do so for mistakes done as a preteen as well. This will just push the age limit for acceptability of "sins of youth" further.

        As well it should. Reputable scientific studies [nih.gov] demonstrate that full adult maturity doesn't arrive until the mid-20s. Specifically, "the frontal cortex areaâ"which governs judgment, decision-making and impulse controlâ"doesnâ(TM)t fully mature until around age 25."

        The statistics back this up.

      • I do believe that mistakes in the past should be looked at more as learning issues, and I am tolerant to people's different choices.

        However, Let me play devil's advocate, because while some things online will blow over, at a certain point they will make a difference. Also, I definitely see younger people need to learn about TMI when it comes to their online selves...

        Drinking, drugs, questionable fashion choices in the form of tattoos and piercings...

        Personally, I do not have a problem with any of these. While I have done these in my past, (except the tattoos and piercing) and I still drink

    • by houghi (78078)

      When I was 15 (many, many years ago) I already had discussions with my friends about privacy and what it was. This was before computers. let alone the Internet.
      But that was in Europe, where privacy is looked upon differently. It used to be what you were not about the location.

      Now it tends to go more in the direction of the US idea of privacy where if it isn't done in your own home, it isn't private. And if you do it in your own home, it is suspicious.

      This is, I think, because Europeans tent to think more fr

    • Re:Generational gap (Score:4, Interesting)

      by abarrow (117740) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @09:38AM (#43826983) Homepage

      Agreed. In some ways you can see this happening today - what if 30 years ago a presidential candidate admitted pot smoking? What if a presidential candidate today claimed NEVER to have done it? Would you believe them?

      Same is true here. The enlightened employers will get the energetic, creative young people who were willing to get out there and enjoy their lives, not the ones who wear tin-foil hats and button up their sweaters before going out for the day.

    • by ultranova (717540)

      Kids of today will simply grow up to hold the attitude that literally everyone has made mistakes in their past, especially so while young, and most things a person did won't be held against them.

      Or even better, stop pretending that the purpose of life is to be an industrial robot and any deviation from that is a "mistake" that one needs to express regret for. I can understand why employees would want that: for the same reason that tobacco industry kept on claiming their cancer sticks are harmless for as lo

    • Kids of today will simply grow up to hold the attitude that literally everyone has made mistakes in their past, especially so while young, and most things a person did won't be held against them.

      Devoutly to be wished, but it seems optimistic. More likely in the future success may depend on how well you can get your online "records" erased (good potential business opportunity?). I doubt high level politicos will have much trouble with this, since they're already subject to so much scrutiny (is it true that Barry Obama refused to share the last cupcake with you, and how has this traumatized you since the third grade?). It's other people. If their ages can be correctly identified it'll be easy to get

    • by martin-boundary (547041) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @10:15AM (#43827145)
      Nonsense. Kids who do *not* make online mistakes are smarter and more mature than their peers. So companies who prefer to hire kids like that will have the cream of the crop, so to speak. They'll move ahead, whereas the companies that don't discriminate will just be average.
    • by oztiks (921504)

      Yeah, phewy to that! It's a nice concept and I hope that some will follow your sentiment but highly unlikely.

      The world today is presently filled with all manner of creeds, healthy and unhealthy. To assume that your ideal will be common place and era in a new level of social acceptance, though positive and possible, it's a shot in the dark to say the least.

      The only way I see it not being so far fetched is if our social constructs were to change. I.E our political design being a big one. Watched the Daily Sho

    • by itsdapead (734413)

      Kids of today will simply grow up to hold the attitude that literally everyone has made mistakes in their past, especially so while young, and most things a person did won't be held against them.

      The danger is, in an insanely litigious society, employers will feel obliged to trawl for evidence of past misdemeanours to protect against future liabilities.

      For example, a company employs a 30-year old bus driver. Bus driver gets drunk and runs down a pedestrian. Ambulance-chasing lawyer finds online video of driver, age 16, getting falling-down drunk, and uses this to support a case that the bus company negligently employed an alcoholic. Consequence: bus companies' lawyers and insurers pressure compani

      • secure their place on the board of the new start-up 'Acme Screening Services Corp.'

        It's already happening. Consider the use of credit scores in screening job applicants. Nobody has ever found a correlation between credit scores and how well a person does at their job, but of course that doesn't stop the anti-scientific group-think CYA and/or push a useless service crowd.

        • The theory is not that you'll perform better. The theory is that you'll be far less inclined to take bribes, steal from the company, etc. because you're in a good place financially and you don't NEED the extra money to break even. Hiring someone with perfect credit is a lot less risky than hiring someone who is swimming in debt. ... which kind of sucks, because the people swimming in debt are in most need of a job.

          • Hiring someone with perfect credit is a lot less risky than hiring someone who is swimming in debt.

            Evidence?

            I suspect you're basing that on the "just follows" approach, which frequently leads people astray. Maybe I could even accept the CYA of the "just follows" approach for a position that had a high theft potential, but it's still certainly ridiculous for anything else. BTW, what was Bernie Madoff's credit rating?

            I don't quite have a dog in this fight since I have a good credit rating, and am old enough not to have put dumb stuff on Facebook in my youth. But this "perfect little soldier" approach t

    • by sribe (304414) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @10:38AM (#43827239)

      Kids of today will simply grow up to hold the attitude that literally everyone has made mistakes in their past, especially so while young, and most things a person did won't be held against them.

      Maybe, even better, they will grow up to adults who realize that mild experimentation with alcohol and sex is normal, not even a "mistake". (Yes, teens will still make real mistakes, things they regret. But much of what these discussions refer to as "mistakes" are only "mistakes" from an extremely unhealthy puritanical view.)

    • by Tom (822)

      You assume that this entire thing is about some small cultural values that easily adapt.

      It isn't.

      The ability to forget is easily as important as the ability to remember, for both a society and the sanity of your own mind. Psychology has only started delving into that realm, but so far findings are clear that forgetting is not a bug of the mind, but an important part of keeping your mind working and sane.

      Keeping your memories outside, in digital storage, is not the same thing and will not lead to the same ne

    • by Flozzin (626330)
      I came on to say just this. When everyone has dirt on them, who can throw the first stone? Everything in your youth will be overlooked and attributed to the college lifestyle. Us old fuddy duddies just need to cycle out of the workforce first and this will be a non-issue. Really the only difference is we can find their dirt, they can't find ours. Dirt exists on both sides.
  • by rvw (755107) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @08:37AM (#43826741)

    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

    It's not my quote, but Ghandi's, and it perfectly fits the current digital age. It's not the things that go well and without effort that make you, but it's the mistakes that make a difference, if you learn from them at least. And if you don't, well they make a difference as well of course, but not for the better.

    On the other hand, online mistakes maybe follow you along. If you can handle them at a later age, it might be no different than now. Pictures are another thing however. They make an impression that is not easily forgotten.

  • What he said is true, information doesn't just disappear, but this is hardly news. We've known that information is persistent since before social networking was a thing.
  • by anthony_greer (2623521) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @08:44AM (#43826763)

    Bill Gates and to a large extent MS is now harmless, I propose Slashdot make Schmidt and/or a google logo the new Borge story icon...

  • by anthony_greer (2623521) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @08:48AM (#43826775)

    The people doing the hiring probably did something stupid as kids or in college, and given a few years, the kids doing job searches now will b hiring managers and HR people and the system will learn to adapt and what to ignore and what to take seriously...everybody fucks up once in a while but we just put our dirty laundry on youtube now.

    • by readin (838620)
      It will depend on the nature of the offense. Now someone who smoked illegal drugs is unlikely to face many problems getting hired or even getting elected President of the United States. On the other hand, suppose as a teenager you got into a heated internet discussion and called your opponent a *igger. (That's right, I'm too chicken to say it). In today's world of racial hyper-sensitivity and workplace zero-tolerance, who's going to hire such a person? What if he says the word again and creates a lawsu
      • Now someone who smoked illegal drugs is unlikely to face many problems getting hired or even getting elected President of the United States.

        The rules are different if you're running for president. There's so much crap thrown around that no candidate is squeaky clean. Besides, as a presidential candidate you're automatically a member of the anointed class that can get away with all sorts of crap. Our last two or three presidents have admitted they were guilty of drug offenses that still get people thrown in jail, but it hasn't had much effect on drug laws for the non-anointed class. By contrast no one will get hired as a teacher if there's evide

    • Re:2 way street (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hentes (2461350) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @09:24AM (#43826911)

      I fear it may even be the opposite: applicants for whom a Google search doesn't return every detail of their lives will be labeled too antisocial for the job.

    • by tlambert (566799) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @10:29AM (#43827207)

      The people doing the hiring probably did something stupid as kids or in college, and given a few years, the kids doing job searches now will b hiring managers and HR people and the system will learn to adapt and what to ignore and what to take seriously...everybody fucks up once in a while but we just put our dirty laundry on youtube now.

      A more likely outcome is that upper echelon positions would be recruited from socially conservative groups who are not only socially conservative in public, but also socially conservative in private.

      These could be ex-employees or early retirement employees of agencies known for strongly vetting their employees backgrounds. For example, there's a reason that the CIA and FBI tend to disproportionately recruit from socially conservative groups like the LDS church. The primary reason for this is they don't want anything in their employees past that the agency or the employees family doesn't already know about being potentially used as leverage and.or blackmail material which could then be used to compromise the agency.

      After the scandals of prior years, it's no error that Sharlene Wells was crowned Miss America in 1985 to have at least term of someone socially conservative enough to avoid causing a new scandal before the pageant repaired its ailing reputation from the Vanessa Williams scandal of 1984. They wanted a "Good Mormon Girl" who wouldn't make waves.

      Make a mistake as a teen, and you could find yourself barred from the upper reached of money-based power, especially if you compound the mistake by recording it in publicly visible social media.

      • there's a reason that the CIA ... tend to disproportionately recruit from socially conservative groups ... The primary reason for this is they don't want anything in their employees past that the agency or the employees family doesn't already know about being potentially used as leverage and.or blackmail material which could then be used to compromise the agency.

        The CIA only wants people who are squeaky clean? It reminds me of the line in "Alice's Restaurant" where they want to know if he's moral enough to kill women and children.

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @08:51AM (#43826779) Homepage Journal

    so nobody will give a crap about "minor" stuff in 10 years. it's crap overload.

    nobody gives a crap about pamela anderson sex vid even now, mind you. that's not what defines her.

    • by Tom (822) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @11:07AM (#43827361) Homepage Journal

      so nobody will give a crap about "minor" stuff in 10 years. it's crap overload.

      The world will not. But individuals will.

      Imagine meeting your dream partner, the perfect girl/guy. And then losing her because of something stupid you did 10 years before, something you yourself had forgotten, but since there's a record of everything, someone who didn't like you dug it up and sent it to her.

      (and don't tell me your perfect partner wouldn't judge you based on something so long ago, I intentionally left it open what it could've been.)

      There's a reason that even criminal records get cleaned after some time. Both psychologists and neurologists have found how important forgetting is to the human mind. And sociologists know how important it is to a society.

      Everything memorized for all times isn't a dream, it's a nightmare. Not because of any small cultural thing that'll just have to change, but because of fundamental human factors that don't change as easily or quickly as technology does.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        Anonymity and forgetting are relatively new inventions. When people were living in small groups or villages, mistakes did follow you a lifetime.

        • by Tom (822)

          But they were subject to human memory and limited record-keeping. And thus, to a kind of "gossip evolution". Minor stuff would be forgotten, important stuff remembered. And memory is not a very good recording device. Memory is constantly adjusted, memories years old keep changing in your mind, just so slowly that you never notice. There's some really fascinating research into this area.

          What does that mean for your village? It means that if you made a big mistake 10 years ago, but then after that came around

  • Everyone is expected to be perfect all of the time.
  • by gatkinso (15975) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @09:01AM (#43826821)

    ...at least judging by the admittedly small pool of middle schoolers that my kids are friends with.

    They flat out think it is stupid, and for old people. Don't know any high schoolers except for the former baby sitter - she seemed to indicate that high school kids were only using Facebook due to peer pressure.

    While highly unscientific, *if* this is a general trend it does not indicate a long term growth path for Facebook in their current incarnation. I guess at that point they simply drop the social networking facade for their data collection activities and reveal themselves to be the massive advertising targeting and analytics firm that they really are, plus they start to sell off the impressive portfolio of technology they have developed (which alone is worth billions).

  • Actually (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lightknight (213164) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @09:08AM (#43826849) Homepage

    Actually, this might be a good thing. See, up until now, human beings have engaged repeatedly in trying to cover up their mistakes; this would not be such an issue if it did not require making more mistakes.

    By allowing for a more accurate record of mistakes, society will be forced to evolve beyond its current idiotic game of 'hide the sin, then seize the moral high ground' which many of its officers currently engage in. The only potential problem are the paranoid powerful ones who think ghosts are chasing them seeking vengeance for their past actions -> they're the ones likely to set a match to civilization to try and burn any copies of their past mistakes. "Though no one is chasing them, they still run."

    But then, the human ego is a delicate thing, and much of humanity has evolved to be a social species...like coral....so the thought of the scrutiny of the world, tempered like a blade, suddenly thrust upon a single person, is perhaps too much to bear.

  • As a parent, this has been my concern for some time. My wife and I have decided never to refer to our daughter by her real name online. We never post photos of her anywhere. As she grows older, we are going to teach her to minimize her online presence and warn her that future employers or colleges may request her passwords to various social media sites to learn more about her. However, you cannot completely control what other people post about you. In fact, if you post nothing about yourself online, t
  • They'll be the only ones without an online record of all the stupid stuff they did as teens.

  • Schmidt also made an interesting comment in an interview with The Telegraph while he was in the U.K. He said, "You have to fight for your privacy, or you will lose it." This is quite different from his infamous 2009 remark: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

    sounds like a passing google maps car must have caught him flashing in a public park

  • He said, "You have to fight for your privacy, or you will lose it." This is quite different from his infamous 2009 remark: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

    Different and yet the same. These two statements are simply reflections of the current reality.

  • by Gim Tom (716904) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @10:23AM (#43827181)
    Back when the Internet was a new thing, I remember the cartoon of the dogs on a computer with the caption, On the Internet, no one knows you are a dog.

    Unfortunately, this is not true any more. The hive mind of the Internet never seems to forget and this may have consequences we can not even imagine yet. I am now in my mid sixties and have seen the world change from where the mistakes of youth did not come back to haunt you in latter life. I doubt that this will be true for anyone growing up now.

    One of the things not often appreciated is just how much my country, The United States, owes to people who came here in order to leave their past behind and start over. Even in our country, until very recently, it was possible to begin anew and leave the past behind. Yes, there were some negative aspects of this. I am sure that there are unsolved crimes committed by the ones that "got away". One of the popular genres of TV shows is that of solving cold cases. However, the benefit of being able to "start over" seems to outweigh the risk of those that get away. Even in law there are Statute of Limitations for most crimes and sometimes I think the Internet needs a statute of limitations on how long it "remembers" some things.

    Making mistakes is a part of learning and growing up. A person in their teens is not the same person in their late twenties, and by the time they are in their fifties or beyond they have probably changed again. Giving people the room and freedom to grow and start over is as important to society as almost anything.

    As the engineers I used to work with often said about a failed rocket launch, "we learn the most from our mistakes - they blow up."

    For those of us who worked on some of the old "Big Iron" mainframe systems we can remember that most forms of storage required specifying a retention date or retention period. After which time the data would be deleted. If one needed the data the owner could change the date before it was deleted. I think that some sort of retention period should be applied to all social media sites, and other sites that hold personal information. Perhaps we should start a Give the Internet Amnesia movement!
  • by MacTO (1161105) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @10:28AM (#43827197)

    Bad experiences can be character-forming, but character forming goes both ways.

    Employers look at a person's history while hiring. A person with a clear history or a history of positive contributions is going to have a leg up when it comes to securing employment. A person which has a history of negative decisions is going to have less success securing employment.

    Making everyone's life an open book doesn't solve that problem because it is based upon a bunch of false premisses. It is based upon the make-believe notion that everyone makes mistakes, and the fictional notion that everyone makes similar types of mistakes.

    First of all, some people make far fewer mistakes than other people. A person who studied hard in college is probably going to frown upon a person who partied hard in college. A person who steered clear of drugs is probably going to look down upon a person who got sucked in by drugs. Even if the person who made irresponsible decisions turned their life around, the person who demonstrated responsibility throughout their life may still hold a dim view of them.

    Even if people made mistakes in similar quantities, different types of mistakes have different social stigmas. A teenager caught DUI may be branded, but a lot of people will overlook that 10 years down the road because a lot of teenagers do stupid things. If that teenager killed a person while DUI they will be branded for life. Same mistake, different outcome, different social stigma. Don't think that stuff like that is posted online? Think again. People post videos of assaults and rapes online then harass the victim over it (a teen in my area recently killed herself because of that).

    So yeah, posting mistakes online is an issue.

  • misconception (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @10:30AM (#43827215) Homepage Journal

    "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

    Like so many, he is mistaking "anyone" for "everyone".

    I have tons of things I don't want everyone to know, though I don't mind of some specific people do.

    We all have.

    And then there's degrees. I don't mind telling people about some of the mistakes I made. I don't see why I should go into the details. I don't make a secret of who I'm with or who I've been with, but I wouldn't want to have a list published somewhere. I'm sure even Schmidt or Zuckerberg don't want videos of their last night of sex online for the world to see, even though they'll probably have no problem saying that they've had sex that night on public TV. But there are degrees of disclosure and privacy.

    • I'm sure even Schmidt or Zuckerberg don't want videos of their last night of sex online for the world to see

      That's ok, I'm sure the world doesn't want to see it either.

  • ... just think about their policy of enforcing real name accounts on G+, youtube ...
  • [Schmidt] said, "You have to fight for your privacy, or you will lose it." This is quite different from his infamous 2009 remark: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

    Explanation: Schmidt did something in the intervening time that he doesn't want anyone to know about.

  • ...get to 40 years old, then get over yourself.

    The stuff in my life is of deep interest and importance to me, I don't for one minute believe any of it is of much interest to anyone else.

    There's far too many talentless schmucks already parading themselves in front of me constantly vying for my attention on TV, advertising billboards and just about anywhere else I rest my eyes these days. Everyone else can get to the queue behind them, I'll get around to them at the point when my life becomes so boring that I

    • If you're 40 you didn't have social media when you were young. Even Internet access of any kind was unusual. We old farts have to consider that when we take our Geritol and pontificate.
      • I don't consider that I am pontificating, merely stating it as I see it through older and wiser eyes.

        The original posting talks about a generation making a complete record of everything they have done, my point is that most of what any generation does is boring piffle and not worthy of recording anyway.

        Today's world is information overload with most of that information being mindless chatter of little interest to most people, but that's not to say that the Internet and social media are not extremely useful

  • "This is quite different from his infamous 2009 remark"

    Maybe that was the event to put his life back on track.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @11:15AM (#43827409)

    Can someone tell me? He didn't invent Google and while there he didn't invent squat at Google He was brought on ONLY because the VC behind Google insisted that Larry and Serge could not act as CEOs for Google when it was starting. Larry and Serge then went through a long list of candidates, rejecting them all, because they're, you know souless suits. Finally they took on Schmidt because time was running out and they had to take on someone. Before that, Schmidt had been a typical middle manager of no distinction.

    While at Google Schmidt's main concern was to tell his longtime wife they were now in an open marriage and start dating hot girls with drug problems for whom he paid for drug rehab and jetting around to Burning Man and generally getting a second crack at being the cool kid everyone wanted to hang out with in high school. . When he wasn't thus engaged, he was saying things which Google had to back peddle on and which indicated that Schmidt was a shallow, coarse, unintelligent asshole.

    So why when her talks does anyone care? He's a vacant careerist of no distinction and less character who through a stroke of enormous good luck fell very far upwards in life.

    It's all publicly available information and anyone who knows the history of Google from just the popular press knows it's all true, never mind people who know the back story to all of the above who we can presume can't stand the site of the guy.

    Please, Slashdot, no more Eric Schmidt said "blah" stories, OK?

    • Why does ayone care what Eric Schmidt thinks?

      Because he was CEO and is still executive chairman of Google. Soulless suit or not, that gives him a lot of influence and what he says gets a lot of publicity, even outside of Slashdot.

      • P.S. I don't give a rat's ass about many of the things that the needlessly rich and powerful have to say, like the Slashdot story about the endearing things that Bill Gates had to say about his old "friend" Steve "Apple Saint in Chief" Jobs (though I did get modded down for saying that). This is different because it's pertinent to policy and what may occur in everyday life.
  • So Google is going to become the new "Permanent Record" bogey-man... just like the arrest and mug-shot sites that put up names and photos of recent arrests and mug-shots and "offer" to make those photos go away if you pay a little something...

    Or expedite the "going away" of those photos if you pay a little more.
    Sad world. Sad concept.

    Just because Schmidt 'the idiot' of Google sez forget about your privacy (and no matter how frequently he bleats it) is no reason to take him at his word. We have rights beyo

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