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Erasing History in the Internet Era - NYTimes.com


Stashed in: Teh Internets, History!, Privacy does not exist., Bullies

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In Europe, where press freedoms are less sacred and the right to privacy is more ensconced, the idea has taken hold that individuals have a “right to be forgotten,” and those who want their online particulars expunged tend to have the government on their side. In Germany or Spain, Lorraine Martin* might have a winning case.

I sense that the idea is gaining traction here. Erasure laws seem to be proliferating. States feel greater pressure to put public records offline. (After a New York newspaper published names and addresses of local handgun permit-holders, the Legislature in Albany sharply limited access to that information.) Google’s latest transparency report shows a sharp rise in requests from governments and courts to take down potentially damaging material. Editors tell me they are increasingly beset by readers who once cooperated with a reporter on a sensitive subject — nudism, anorexia, bullying — and years later find that old story a recurring source of distress. (It’s called “source remorse.”)

* You'll want to read about her woes in the article.

Wow, that poor woman.

Rather than try to erase every bad thing that happens, perhaps we as society should loosen up about the fact that bad things happen, and not beat people up when bad things have happened.

Or perhaps the police and the courts shouldn't be releasing names until at least a trial has started...

That's a good idea, too.