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

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the internets-never-forget dept.

Privacy 128

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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128 comments

The 'right to be forgotten' (1, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051545)

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]

Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (3, Interesting)

parodyca (890419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051599)

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.

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051725)

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.

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051805)

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

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (1)

gomiam (587421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052265)

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.

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052393)

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.

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (1)

gomiam (587421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054179)

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).

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (1)

gorzek (647352) | about a year and a half ago | (#42055179)

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.

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (5, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (3, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052167)

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.

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42053157)

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 privacy policy?) despite the fact that they traded the information as part of some transaction.

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (1)

Phrogman (80473) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054063)

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 will never be any privacy any more in the future for 99.9% of the world if they interact with the net or with a corporation. The bad guys have won already.

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054883)

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?

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42055091)

Almost any privacy policy I read tells me it can be changed without notice, and it never seems to state the intention and effect will remain the same. I'm not impressed. And you know perfectly well that a large number of people doesn't understand the legalese in those documents. I'm pretty sure that there are many, many people to whom it never even occurred that they were paying for the service with their personal information. And even if they know most of them don't come close to understanding what that means. I'm not sure that I do.

Has it occurred to you that what you see here is a government actually representing people instead of corportations?

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42052783)

don't need a court order, they're talking about a law that allows this. You might see the data as belonging to you, but if it's about me and you have no legitimate reason to have it - I *SHOULD* be able to force you to remove it as it poses a risk to me by being on your database.

If I am a customer - then you have a legitimate right to keep it (within reason)
If I am a debtor - then you have a legitimate right to keep it
If I no longer owe you money and no longer buy things from you, then you have no right to keep data about me.

This is not a "phantom property right" it's a real world privacy right.

Not so absurd after all. (3, Interesting)

Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) | about a year and a half ago | (#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] .

Re:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42053713)

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:Lets forget the 'right to be forgotten' (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42054557)

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 imaginary property rights trumping rights over real property, but you won't be asked to destroy hard drives, your real property isn't touched by this at all, and yet you react as if your property rights over data are real. It really is a question of perspective. Please be open to cultural differences and perspectives different from your own.

Re:The 'right to be forgotten' (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051993)

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 not sure any of these sort of judgement calls can be properly encoded in legal policy.

Re:The 'right to be forgotten' (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052119)

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.

Re:The 'right to be forgotten' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42053579)

"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."

So for example, the Louisiana purchase documents would have to be destroyed because you will no longer buy states from the French? Ditto for the check for 7.2 millions you paid for Alaska that you still have not destroyed? Are you planning to acquire more states from Russia?
And so on.

To quote WP.
"Many documents that are produced today, such as personal letters, pictures, contracts, newspapers, and medical records, would be considered valuable historical documents in the future.."

Re:The 'right to be forgotten' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42052701)

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]

It works for the muzzies.

Right to Remember (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42051547)

I have a right to remember, if I have to use a machine to help me remember then I will.
Same argument I have against copyright. I've already seen/heard it, so I'm gonna remember it. DMCA request my brain to take it down all you want.

Here's spin (1)

MakersDirector (2767101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051579)

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 from your head, against your will. Your memory of this event, gone, because the wealthy KNEW how it would impact memories.. And the subsequent trajectory your life takes... Ever wonder why we get Deja Vu? Maybe this explains why we get it. Maybe this legislation did pass before, the world blew up when someone who did something miraculous never got a chance to be seen or heard, and died at the cross... Maybe he's coming back, now as we speak, to warn of making that same decision again, and the implications it means should the wrong decision be made.... Life can't happen. Until we let go of our need to control our image. And just accept who we are, and then have fun with wherever the journey takes us. It only becomes a cycle when we try to purge 'public records' of that information.... You are the mind of god.

Re:Here's spin (4, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052223)

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.

Re:Here's spin (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052723)

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.

Re:Here's spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42054435)

I'm damned if I can remember any policy, enactment or decision good or bad that John Major's government did.

Very, Very, bad: Railway privatization.
Even if you think railways should not be state run, the way privatization was done - by shattering British Rail into hundreds of parts, each with myriad contractual relationships and conflicting priorities - was a disaster; it has been partly undone by subsequent consolidation but the franchise system is still producing farcical results, and fares just keep on going up.
Privatization also directly led to a number of deaths due to poor maintenance - e.g. where routine track upkeep was subcontracted and further subcontracted down to one-man-and-a-rail-trolley type operations with clapped out equipment (see Tebay), and other disasters related to fragmentation and Railtrack deciding to virtual stop all preventative track maintenance to increase their profits.

After Railtrack's collapse, its not-for-profit successor Network Rail eventually bought all routine maintenance back in house.

Ironically, a major objective of the exercise was to break the power of the rail unions, but in fact they now have the power to bring a train operating company to its knees (financially) in a few weeks, so train drivers virtually write their own pay cheques.

You might be able to guess from this that I detest John Major more than any other recent UK politician.

Re:Here's spin (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054727)

I'm damned if I can remember any policy, enactment or decision good or bad that John Major's government did.

Very, Very, bad: Railway privatization. Even if you think railways should not be state run, the way privatization was done - by shattering British Rail into hundreds of parts, each with myriad contractual relationships and conflicting priorities - was a disaster; it has been partly undone by subsequent consolidation but the franchise system is still producing farcical results, and fares just keep on going up. Privatization also directly led to a number of deaths due to poor maintenance - e.g. where routine track upkeep was subcontracted and further subcontracted down to one-man-and-a-rail-trolley type operations with clapped out equipment (see Tebay), and other disasters related to fragmentation and Railtrack deciding to virtual stop all preventative track maintenance to increase their profits.

After Railtrack's collapse, its not-for-profit successor Network Rail eventually bought all routine maintenance back in house.

Ironically, a major objective of the exercise was to break the power of the rail unions, but in fact they now have the power to bring a train operating company to its knees (financially) in a few weeks, so train drivers virtually write their own pay cheques.

You might be able to guess from this that I detest John Major more than any other recent UK politician.

I agree that this was very very bad, but if you had asked me I would have sworn that Thatcher had done this. It just shows that Major was a "stealth prime minister".

Re:Here's spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42054743)

John Major was Prime Minister???

Re:Here's spin (1)

MakersDirector (2767101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42053005)

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 the way to get into a taxi cab. Another time, I ran into Jamie Lee Curtis while I was on my Honeymoon, at Four Seasons in Maui, she was staying there with her partner, I went to commend her for her role in True Lies, and instead she scurries away hiding behind her bodyguard. The people in power may often be jerks, or hide behind someone big. But then there's another time I was in the tube in London and having a casual conversation with Jamie Bamber (Adama from Battlestar Galactica), or another time my drunk buddy accidentally bumped into Cameron Diaz's arm at Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas, spilling her drink, and I offered to buy her another drink - apologizing profusely for him, but what was funny was - she didn't have anyone 'guarding' her, and she was down to earth cool.. She was like 'normal' folk, no one seemed to be bothering her. I understand why now, but it's nice having those random meets...

It's fun seeing public figures on the screen, then while you're out 'in real life' maybe having a discussion with one randomly changes everything. Zooey Deschannel for instance, something about her I just want to find out more about... Would not suck to have a random encounter with her...

So consider this. Maybe the effect of the prime minister meeting wasn't something that was 'intended' to have any effect on you until much later in your life... Like right now, for instance, hearing a story like this, or maybe even later, when you use the story of the prime minister meeting to reflect on what happened and say..

Well maybe, it did change some things...

Conversation, serendipitous meetings, getting out and about and socializing. Are all a part of what creates 'energy', stories, conversation, variety, and most of all... inspiration that these figures and their positions are 'within reach' of just about anyone, and much of what we see on television is... spin......

Talking heads create drama on tv, movies, radio, print media, books, and more... It's something that is sad because it never stops, there never seems to be writing and creativity for the sake of enjoyment anymore... But then you take one step outside the internet and 'spun' media and realize. Life's far crazier, and more fun, a story in fact. That's why I loved Paris. It just seemed spontaneously Creative. Vegas is starting to get like this too.., But Hollywood, and Politicians... All it takes is a little courage and reflection to understand - we're all in this together. If we don't act like it, then life's nothing more than an act.

Didnt we already have that chapter in the bible? And Numbers? Isn't it time we make a new chapter called... Love.. or Hope....

Not hiding and scurrying away...

Don't store it in the first place (4, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Don't store it in the first place (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051683)

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 for example, I WANT them to share that. A lot of recruiters hire from there, and that information is a LOT more detailed than anything I have put on facebook.

As far as advertising goes, I am just fine with them sharing the information I give them as well, but not for reasons that you might think. I give them an email address that I rarely ever check, meanwhile they mail coupons to it in order to get me to buy from them more. Whenever I actually come looking to buy something, I search that mailbox and I might find something useful. Last month I wanted to buy some RAM, and it just so happened that a few days earlier newegg emailed a coupon to that address. Staples does that sometimes as well, e.g. I was looking for a portable hard disk once, and I had one of those $25 off $75 coupons they toss around once in a blue moon. Pretty nice taking $25 off of an $80 hard disk.

As far as data mining; I'm a pretty boring person. I think they might find that when finals are coming up, I buy lots of mountain dew. Maybe there are a lot of like minded people, so wal-mart will have a sale on mountain dew around that time so that I buy from them rather than say target. Am I supposed to feel violated because my privacy was invaded? Or am I supposed to be glad that I got some cheaper mountain dew?

Re:Don't store it in the first place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42051861)

You're supposed to worry because in 7 years your medical insurance costs will go up. Your insurance provider will finish integrating with your credit card provider, which will also be fully integrated into everything you bought (if you used cash computer vision algorithms can already id you from a known set. Someone only needs to write the code to glue it all together). The insurance provider will see that you used to drink lots of unhealthy mountain dew and thus are statically more likely to cost them more money than their average customer. Because of that you'll be charged more.

What goes on now doesn't matter for most people (me included). The problem is that the data can be abused in tons of different ways which may or may not hurt you or people related to you in the future.

Re:Don't store it in the first place (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052657)

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. The phone call with your parents could be awkward.

Re:Don't store it in the first place (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42053557)

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.

It's all about formatting data (2)

mcrbids (148650) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051745)

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, as well as another "properties" fork which could contain information about the scope of acceptable usability.

It could be done, but it would be very, very, very expensive. I'm not sure whether it wouldn't be worth it, the right to privacy and personal rights does count for quite a bit, and the court system in the USA is also very, very expensive and equally worth it.

Note that since we're talking about data, Moore's law means that the cost is about 1 or 2 years of actual growth. 1 or 2 years of no growth at all to accommodate this idea....

Re:Don't store it in the first place (5, Insightful)

seifried (12921) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052009)

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.

Re:Don't store it in the first place (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054401)

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.

Re:Don't store it in the first place (1)

boristdog (133725) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054475)

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.

Re:Don't store it in the first place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42052061)

In the Netherlands it's already illegal for most parties (like hotels) to make a photocopy of your passport or driver's license; they can have look at it, and make a note, but that's it.

Re:Don't store it in the first place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42052183)

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.

Welcome to data legislation 101. This is already law.

Re:Don't store it in the first place (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052207)

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.

Re:Don't store it in the first place (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year and a half ago | (#42053171)

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.

Just like Carbon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42051657)

Expunging data is undesirable for those who think of it as an expense, especially one that might interfere with a revenue stream. Greenhouse gas emissions are no different in this regard. For industry it's a nuisance to be held accountable to any concern that gets in the way of short term profitability. That's why carbon caps, reduction and the like have gone nowhere.

It depends on who is asking. (5, Insightful)

AftanGustur (7715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051711)

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".

Re:It depends on who is asking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42051897)

But you give Facebook a licence to use this data when you agree to their TOS. The data may have originated from you, but you transferred ownership of it in exchange for the services Facebook provided you with.
If you want full control over your personal data, only sign up with services that gives you full control of the data.
This includes not signing up to any service that have a TOS that allows them to change their TOS.

Its no different from signing up to a credit card. A credit card can ruin a lot of things for you if you don't fully understand the terms of the offered service.
You can't change your mind once you have a huge debt.
But just as you can pay back your debt, you can delete you pictures from facebook. And just as your credit score/payment history remains with the bank, your facebook info remains with facebook.

What is really needed is more education of the true consequences of signing up to what casually appears to be free services online.

Re:It depends on who is asking. (4, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052001)

Warning: cultural clash. In Europe, many rights cannot be signed away through TOS regardless of text in the aforementioned TOS. In US, you can even sign away your right to trial by jury.

As a result, attempts to cross-jury-rig comparisons are quite pointless.

Re:It depends on who is asking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42053519)

The US has some rather screwed up notions of what constitute freedom. We have people who will defend to the death the right of employers to exploit workers, the right of people to die for lack of health care, and the right of captal to organize but NOT the same right for labor.

It's rather pathetic really when you consider thay almost half our population routinely takes these positions in elections. The notion that an individual might be able to say 'no' to somebody trying to do something harmful just doesn't seem to occur to these brainwashed excuses for human beings.

Re:It depends on who is asking. (1, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054329)

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.

Re:It depends on who is asking. (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054927)

We have people who will defend to the death the right of employers to exploit workers, the right of people to die for lack of health care, and the right of captal to organize but NOT the same right for labor.

You'd have a better understanding of the problem, if you stop using the word "rights" indiscriminately. What is the point of government interfering in the above when existing solutions work quite well. For example, employees can always quit, if they think they're being exploited. And certain types of exploitation (such as reneging on contracts or not paying workers) are illegal and can be settled in court.

And some rights are lethally open-ended. If there is a right to health care, then how much health care is granted by that right? One can always extend life span a little more with a lot more health care. Who pays or can pay for an open-ended, sky-is-the-limit right?

My view is that simply there's too much foolishness in your post to take it seriously. Morality should always consider what we can afford as part of what we should do.

Re:It depends on who is asking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42052021)

Yeah, facebook can use that data as long as you want to use facebook, but when you say delete my account, it should mean delete my account and all the data with it. How exactly is this like with a credit card? How are you in dept to facebook?

Re:It depends on who is asking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42053383)

How can you not spell debt?

Re:It depends on who is asking. (4, Informative)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052087)

But you give Facebook a licence to use this data when you agree to their TOS. The data may have originated from you, but you transferred ownership of it in exchange for the services Facebook provided you with.

Not in the UK. British data protection laws hold that your data still belongs to you, even if its being held by another company. This is why that company needs your permission to sell it on. Of course, if it is illegally sold on without your permission and the seller lies to the buyer and tells them you authorised further sales then even if the buyer cares about the law, they may end up selling your data on even though you never gave that permission. (This happened to my data)

What is needed is a law that prevents dissemination of your data by a company who you haven't given explicit permission to directly.

If you want full control over your personal data, only sign up with services that gives you full control of the data.
This includes not signing up to any service that have a TOS that allows them to change their TOS.

Good luck finding such a service. For personal customers, contracts aren't negotiated, you don't have the option to strike out terms you don't like. And when so mant companies require you to permit them to use and sell your data in ways not directly associated with the services they provide, some regulation is needed to stop the public being railroaded into agreeing to this by virtue of having little choice.

Re:It depends on who is asking. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42055787)

Good luck finding such a service. For personal customers, contracts aren't negotiated, you don't have the option to strike out terms you don't like.

Actually UK law does require they let you do that. Of course they don't have to agree to your modified contact, but the opportunity to examine and edit to must at least exist. It is a legal requirement, without which the contract is void.

I use the TOSEdit extension to edit web site TOS whenever I sign up, and they always seem to accept my changes.

Re:It depends on who is asking. (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#42055933)

Actually UK law does require they let you do that. Of course they don't have to agree to your modified contact, but the opportunity to examine and edit to must at least exist.

Ok, you're right, you are allowed to strike out clauses you don't like. It won't do you any good though since they will reject the contract, so you're back to "either accept the terms as stated or don't use the service". If most service providers have bad terms in their contracts then "don't use the service" becomes a big problem, and that's where you need regulation.

Don't be a "Barbara Streisand" and you'll be ok... (2)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051713)

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...

Unless it's a computer reviewing you (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054629)

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 suffering real consequences, yet mysteriously no other real people are ever responsible any more so there's no-one to hold to account, to compel to fix what they broke (if that's possible), or to force to change their ways.

Letting computers make these important decisions automatically just because we can leads to a world where no-one under 30 can afford insurance to drive, no-one with a family history of some unfortunate medical condition can enjoy any activity where it might be risky if they have the same condition, you can't travel if you have the same name as a wanted criminal and once lived in the same city, no-one who put a photo on-line of themselves drunk as a student can get a good job when they graduate, all the muslims get shot because they're obviously terrorists, you're likely to get several months of your life wasted complying with a tax investigation because you once filed the wrong form (or you filed the right form but the OCR software misread it), and so on. Do you really want to live in that kind of world?

the internet destroyed forgetting (4, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051761)

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

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42051939)

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 hopelessly unfeasible, but a dubious exercise that could seriously undermine one of the long term valuable aspects of retaining data.

Ultimately it's like passing a law to retroactively stop people's farts from sinking.

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054811)

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 government to keep your shit private

what?

why do you trust them with your private details? how about you don't share your private details on a public network in a first place?

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (5, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42052711)

Yes, and much of that embarrassing info is either:

a) public information (arrests, etc)
or
b) owned by that third party (photos they took, etc)

The moral: don't be a dumbass and don't hang out with dumbasses.

you suffer for the company you keep (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054723)

true before the internet, true now

that's a separate point from mine

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052177)

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

i will do you a favor (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054765)

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 about that thing not being private

manage your social existence. and certainly don't complain when YOU decide to trust your private details with a corporation on a public network

Re:i will do you a favor (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42055507)

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 for some reason.

Re:i will do you a favor (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42055837)

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

Re:i will do you a favor (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42055881)

How are company servers not a controlled environment?

Re:i will do you a favor (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42056011)

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

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052345)

'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 Facebook - Facebook is not the internet, and give it some time, it'll start forgetting.

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052363)

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.

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052565)

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.

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42053059)

It is the notion of respect for humanity that is dead in the US. You say "the internet" as if that means something. In the US at least your info can go from paper form to electronic without any effort on your part. This data is collected when you do anything but completely expunge yourself from all society so trying to manage each bit by withholding participation is not even remotely feasible.

Every law that prohibits behavior will of course not magically make that behavior disappear from our world. Still we do have those laws and require them to exist. Spewing the term "the internet" as if it is some uncontrollable beast is ridiculous. It is just people with computers that can transmit data. A bit of jail time will make much of this blathering about technical difficulty evaporate. If you spewed the data from you server in an unresponsible manner in the first place then jail time will cause others to suddenly consider the law and avoid doing that. You are thinking of embarassing videos on facebook. The law is considering all the other data facebook chooses to associate with you and then sells.

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year and a half ago | (#42053131)

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.

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (2)

indeterminator (1829904) | about a year and a half ago | (#42053447)

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

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

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42056043)

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

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42053791)

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

No, that's just bullshit, on a par with saying "there will always be crime, so let's not have a police." Hint: Data is stored on physical machines and, yes, it is possible to delete data from machines. It's really not that hard, and companies like FB just pretend there are technical difficulties, because it costs them more to do delete data than keeping it and they generally want to keep everything they got.

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42054291)

It is not hard? What about, CDNs? Caches? The backup in the warehouse across town. The backup in the server in hongkong. The sales managers list on his laptop? These systems were designed to keep data. Having to remove it would require huge expense and time and STILL possibly be undonw due to other people/companies/old hardware having the data. Trying to rearchitect after decades is probably doable, but at what cost? Its a comendable goal, but forcing a law that can't be enforced is also problematic.

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054845)

so you don't want to manage your private details

you want to give your private info to governments and corporations on a public network

then you want to trust those entities and expect them to manage your private details according to your desires

good luck dude

Re:the internet destroyed forgetting (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054831)

>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.

So Bad Data Stays Wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42051891)

How do they update data with mistakes? They can delete things the same way. Sure the change might not hit every backup, but we should draw the line somewhere as good enough.

Mix and match flower special gift hampers (-1, Offtopic)

polandflorist (2778409) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052043)

Very Good website. I like the contents. From www.rightflorist.com/Poland_Florist/Gifts_Flowers_Poland.asp

In biomedical informatics ... (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052179)

... 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.

The right to remember (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052211)

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 always do it (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052317)

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 time to adapt socially to the unforgettable (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052559)

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.

"Right to be Forgotten" is a Foot in the Door (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052571)

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 of course they'll destroy the data afterward.

Advertisers and "big data" will love this. In the short term, they can complain about how much it's going to cost them to do this. The bureaucrats and the public will assume they've scored a victory because of the complaining, and they might even give the companies a tax break or subsidy to offset these costs. People let their guard down, thinking they have more control over their data, which means they're exposing more information. Meanwhile, the corporations have a government mandate and possibly even funding to do what they've always wanted: tie everything together to identify you as an individual and get a complete picture of you.

When the companies are told to forget you, they will say they are complying, but many companies will find a way around it, like selling a copy of your data to an off-shore subsidiary that they own.

Caprica (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052717)

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.

The Ultimate Database Project ... (1)

Cassini2 (956052) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052773)

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, they could request the total salary for the divsion, and then request the total salary all the non-managers (secretaries) in that division. Then the manager's salary could be deduced by taking the difference between the two queries. This would be an obvious security violation, and as such the specification said that any sequence of operations that might give away classified data should also be prohibited (unless the requester had clearance.)

This database project generated lots of press, because it was such a good idea. Last I heard, no one quoted on the project, because no one had the faintest idea how to build the database.

Anyone have any updates? What was the standard called?

It is not a new problem (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#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"

A small point (1)

bsercombe72 (1822782) | about a year and a half ago | (#42052983)

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 create a space for this material so that it is never backed up, then delete it when the CA finishes, but I have no control over whether the staff copy bits of it to other places or forward it around on email while creating derivative works. And you can be damn sure I'm not destroying my backups (our policy is keep forever- its amazing how long ago you might need documentation from relating to a lawsuit)

I know most of this discussion is weighted towards social media content, but the fact is if it is visible it may be copied, reposted, altered to be offensive to you or others and then it really is impossibly expensive to remove.

For instance, there is stuff I put on the web in the early 90s I wish to hell I hadn't. It's everywhere. Eventually it might be forgotten, but I'm pretty sure it'll outlive me.

logical fallacy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42053081)

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 ... (1)

jandersen (462034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42053435)

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 is held in a suitable format, like a database.

It is, of course not as easy if the data is part of a huge, unformatted stream of data - what they now call "Big Data"; but I wouldn't say it is impossible. After all, there are several technologies that target exactly personal information held in huge, unformatted datasets; if they can find it, they can also delete it - or blank it out.

It is idiotic to talk about "having to change history and going through backup tapes ...". Even an EU bureaucrat wouldn't demand that; this is just typical FUD, and the purpose is easy for everyone to see: people's personal information is worth money.

How about some consistency? (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42053993)

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.

Like a Subject Access Request? (3, Interesting)

Phydaux (1135819) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Right to be forgotten and Wikipedia (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year and a half ago | (#42054375)

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 from X and Y because their spouses didn't approve.

Government is exempt from everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42054751)

Even if you could opt out and even make it the law, one second after the government wanted that data they would instantly violate the law, even if they were subject to it to begin with, which is highly doubtful, and the one area most important for "being forgotten", criminal sanction would be bypassed. The sheer variety and rate of increase of felonies these days is astounding.

Developers and Databases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42054819)

As a former Oracle DBA, I'm well aware that developers do a good job getting data into the database but a terrible job of purging stale data from the DB. It seems they never think of that.

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