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Eric Schmidt: Teens' Mistakes Will Never Go Away

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the then-teens-will-just-stop-caring-about-mistakes dept.

Privacy 335

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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What's worse (5, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year and a half ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826793)

as this has blown out. its more likely that every job applicant will have something they regret available online.

I dont think it will matter. at least not for comon mischief.

Re:What's worse (5, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826897)

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.

Re:What's worse (3, Funny)

lxs (131946) | about a year and a half ago | (#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]

Re:What's worse (2)

drolli (522659) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827163)

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 precedence his private life takes over his academic aspirations.

b) it may appear that it contradicts a materialistic local objective world view i will find him unfit for certain aspects. In my world a single entry in an online forum identiofying him as a young earth creationist will eliminate him from the list of candicates for some tasks. Way way worse than having a picture in BDSM fashion or a drunken picture, or a blog entry about cow-tipping.

c) There is the possibility to extract real and valid infromation from this. If you exhibit a pessimistic view towards you current employer, then it is a bad sign.

Sorry. I really wish google had a button to "display only results likely to be relevant for professional life" but they dont have.

Re:What's worse (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826945)

given the choice between candidate A, where you can find those mistakes on line, and B, where you can't, B will generally win.

- good, selective pressure in action.

Re:What's worse (4, Insightful)

danlip (737336) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:What's worse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827057)

Except of course that soon, if you haven't have a picture on a social site where you are dancing butt nakid on a table at a party, you won't get the job because you are not social and are not a team player.

Not having a Facebook/Twitter/Google+ account or not using it enough is already one of the indicators of being a serial killer according to the FBI.

Re:What's worse (3, Funny)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827177)

Wow. I'm not only non-social, a non-team-player, but also a serial killer.

Cool, I guess.

Better that than stupid.

Re:What's worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827247)

Sorry Chum but ya gots nutin on me. I'm not only a serial-killer but a damocrat and refurblican along with being a future politician. Makes me souless hands tingle that I'll soon be able to get more souls for me master.

Re:What's worse (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827309)

also a serial killer

That's so 90's. These days if you're not a terrorist you're nobody.

Re:What's worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827065)

WHAT!
You mean nice guys will actually finish first?

Honestly though, have you tried searching for a webpage from 10 years ago? Most of them are dead.

Re:What's worse (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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 (4, Informative)

theskipper (461997) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:What's worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827289)

Or Rebecca the sorority president who sent a bullying email [thehollywoodgossip.com] to her sisters. With her looks and pushiness, she may still get hired, but she'll be on a short leash wherever she goes.

Re:What's worse (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827387)

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 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Generational gap (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826829)

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.

Re:Generational gap (3, Insightful)

sydneyfong (410107) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826837)

And those campaign managers will eventually be out of a job when the public gets desensitized and starts giving out "meh" responses.

Re:Generational gap (4, Interesting)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826899)

Given that the last two U.S. presidents are known to have used cocaine, and the last three to have smoked marijuana, I think that happened a while ago.

Re:Generational gap (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826905)

exactly however then the politicians will have to be at least a little bit more honest. Not a lot just a little. white lies and hypocritical positions will be laid bare and that will scare more conservatives thus advancing society.

Re:Generational gap (5, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826971)

Then maybe politics will finally be about the message instead of the messenger.
I'm not counting on it, though.

Re:Generational gap (1, Insightful)

Semmi Zamunda (2897397) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826889)

"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." OR....they won't hire an irresponsible kid, and thus save the company a ton of money by hiring a BETTER qualified individual...that doesn't have a propensity for making mistakes. What's so hard about NOT making major mistakes as a kid? I didn't...nearly every single person I know didn't....and that covers people in multiple generations... We don't understand this facebook problem everyone keeps talking about where potential employers see things on your facebook that would keep you from being hired. Maybe if you make "mistakes" you shouldn't get the job? Maybe?

Re:Generational gap (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827059)

What's so hard about NOT making major mistakes as a kid? I didn't

It's not even about major mistakes. Many employers seem to be nothing more than petty, shallow people, and the definition of a "major mistake" may differ from employer to employer; there is no objective way to say that something is 'bad' that I know of. So, they'll probably have employers who don't hire them based on something that they did that they felt was perfectly normal and acceptable.

Maybe if you make "mistakes" you shouldn't get the job? Maybe?

I doubt you haven't made any mistakes; there's probably just no easy way to find out what "mistakes" you made because you didn't post about them on Facebook. The individuals who appear squeaky clean are most likely putting on a facade.

Re:Generational gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827095)

It's not even about major mistakes. Many employers seem to be nothing more than petty, shallow people, and the definition of a "major mistake" may differ from employer to employer; there is no objective way to say that something is 'bad' that I know of. So, they'll probably have employers who don't hire them based on something that they did that they felt was perfectly normal and acceptable.

Or mistakes at all. It could come down to political or religious comments on some website (e.g., comments at end of an article). A prospective employer may choose not to hire you because you said one thing he doesn't like.

Re: Generational gap (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827383)

I wouldn't hire you because you apparently have never taken any risks in your life and most likely never do anything creative or interesting ever, plus have no concept of risk/reward, since you seem to think any risk is unacceptable.
But if I were hiring for an assembly line, you'd be great.

Re:Generational gap (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826903)

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.

Re:Generational gap (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827075)

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... (5, Interesting)

denzacar (181829) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826919)

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... (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827253)

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.

Re: Generational gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826939)

I think you underestimate the desire to judge others as a means of evaluating oneself. Having everything recorded will just make kids respond exaggeratedly, at least in our estimation.

Re:Generational gap (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826943)

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 from the individual and person, whereas the US thinks more about the companies point of view.

The reason is that the individual and the company are not equal partners when it comes to negotiations and priorities.

Re:Generational gap (3, Interesting)

abarrow (117740) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826983)

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.

Re:Generational gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827167)

What if a presidential candidate today claimed NEVER to have done it? Would you believe them?

Well... no, but you could say the same about anything else a presidential candidate says.

Re:Generational gap (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827299)

what if 30 years ago a presidential candidate admitted pot smoking?

As I remember it, many people would have applauded his unusually non-presidential honesty. Now, many voters are, if anything, far more conservative and prudish than those of us from earlier generations.

It's a matter of cultural viewpoint. 13 years ago, I re-launched myself into new a degree program (in molecular biology) by way of a change of direction from my previous career, and since I was re-entering the university system as a first-year student, I was somewhat bemused to note the divergence in perspective of an entire generation whose only notion of the Cold War (for instance) was as a factoid mentioned in books or other publications. To many of us growing up in the '60s and '70s, the world was a totally different place, with a potentially fragile future.

If I were less open-minded, I might have (wrongly) drawn the conclusion that the 18-year-olds of 2000 were just spoilt brats, whereas in reality they have just never been required to think outside 1950s bourgeois norms.

Re:Generational gap (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826993)

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 long as it could. That doesn't mean it isn't bullshit.

Frankly, this whole ritual of claiming one's actions were a mistake looks a lot like a blasphemous version of Catholic confessional, with the public playing the role of God.

Re:Generational gap (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827135)

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 the info on anyone under 18 erased (think of the children). The biggest problem will probably be what people do in their late teens and early twenties.

Re:Generational gap (3, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Generational gap (0)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827333)

Kids who do *not* make online mistakes are smarter and more mature than their peers.

Spoken with the soul of a true bureaucrat (oxymoron intentional). In a bureaucracy the worst thing you can do is make a mistake, and the only way to not make mistakes is to not do anything.

Re:Generational gap (2)

oztiks (921504) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827179)

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 Show much?

We live in a society where today I saw a 13 year old girl dragged on TV to publicly apologise for calling a dark skinned football player an ape from a grandstand during a nationally televised football match. Now setting the whole racism aspect of this aside tell me how, as a society, we are growing away from this? Because when I was a kid growing up, going to the football and listening to the comic relief of the crowd hurling abuse at the players was the highlight of the whole evening.

We are entering a society where everything is everyone else's fault. You can be sued for stupid reasons and be thrown in front of a TV camera for doing something minor (yes even with the racism aspect included it's minor what she did, decapitating soldiers, not so much).

Take your words, flip them on it's head, Now that's real future I believe.

Re:Generational gap (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827191)

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 companies to screen potential employees' history for evidence of alcohol abuse. In fact that doesn't need to actually happen - some lawyer or insurance adjuster just needs to dream up the scenario and do a little policy-based-evidence-making to secure their place on the board of the new start-up 'Acme Screening Services Corp.'

Of course, the existence of an on-line teenage pissup video is a completely meaningless as evidence of alcoholism in adult life, but rationality has never really featured in corporate arse-covering.

I think that, in the internet age, we need to rethink the idea of libel and defamation law to focus on the use and interpretation of defamatory information, rather than on the publishers. In the good old days, if the Respectable Daily News claimed that Mr Insert Name cheated at solitaire, readers had some justification for treating it as a reputable source, and if it proved false it made sense to haul the editor into court.

Now, the internet has cut the traditional publisher/editor out of the loop. In the case of someone tweeting a false accusation, its nonsense going after Twitter (who have no real editorial control) or the Tweetee (who could be anyone). No, the people guilty of defamation are the ones who form any sort of serious opinion based on a totally unreliable source.

Likewise to find a teenager's hangover pic, sext, racist joke, juvenile political rant etc. on Facebook, and treat it as any sort of credible evidence that the now adult person may be an alcoholic/pervert/racist/whatever should be treated as defamation.

Kids do that sort of thing. That's why we don't let them vote, drive cars or buy alcohol without a fake ID.

Re:Generational gap (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827357)

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.

Re:Generational gap (4, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.)

Re:Generational gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827337)

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.

Good! Hopefully they won't be able to get any job and be forced to start their own small business, perhaps with a few friends. The problem isn't the next generation, it's the current generation who just want to get a job with a corporation so they can buy from other corporations... sad.

Re:Generational gap (1)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827399)

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 negative consequences as not being able to forget, but we know precious little about what it'll do to us, both on the scale of a society and on the scale of an individual.

That doesn't mean we should go back to the stone age, mind you. But when you hit on pretty deep and important stuff like this, you shouldn't just shrug it off with an "adapt or die" attitude. If you think that attitude is ok, talk to your grandparents - they went to war and died in order to prevent a master race ideology from spreading further. The "if you can't handle it, step aside for people who can" attitude is dangerously close to that. As a race, we've kind of decided that we don't want to drive out every minority or every disadvantaged individual, and for good reasons.

Freedom is not worth having if... (5, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Freedom is not worth having if... (1)

malvcr (2932649) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827267)

It is so important the right to make mistakes, as the right for forgiveness. An to forgive it is necessary to exercise how to forget.

When all these things about social networking came up, nobody thought that they will break these basic principles for a normal life. Now, with the current technologies, the forgiveness and the associated forgetting became an almost impossible that requires us to be perfect.

The main problem is that current resources are so easy to use in the wrong way, that people just use them without thinking about the consequences of their acts, potentially destroying their lives and the ones from the people they love.

News at 11 (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826755)

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.

Schmidt Borg needed (4, Funny)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about a year and a half ago | (#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...

2 way street (2)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:2 way street (1)

readin (838620) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826811)

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 lawsuit? The plaintiff will be able to use the internet history as evidence that the employer should have known better than to higher the guy. What if your internet history reveals you to be a long-time smoker (before you quite ten years ago)?

Re:2 way street (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827401)

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 evidence that they once smoked a joint, even though the person rejecting them used to deal a pound per week.

Re:2 way street (5, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:2 way street (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827033)

I think you underestimate the insanity of HR. They currently post job ads that require the impossible, let alone the infeasible. They may even come up with an automated search program that tags and rejects applicants when it finds a picture with something that looks kind of like unacceptable behavior (with very wide variations on what "unacceptable" means).

Re:2 way street (1)

Goglu (774689) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827143)

If the "people doing the hiring" were all honest, efficient, unbiased people, then you'd be right right.

Most likely, though, this will facilitate discrimination by systematically rejecting arabs or blacks, but hide it behind a "screening process" that highlights those mistakes...

Plus the fact that people coming from poorer and harsher environments (immigrants and minorities, mostly) have more chances of finding their mistakes online than ivy-league offsprings. Redemption will become even harder for them.

A more likely outcome (5, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:A more likely outcome (0)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827301)

Not quite sure why hiring from a heterodox offshoot that both the catholic protestant church consider a heretical cult and in the recent past was involved in armed insurrection against the state is a good idea for sensitive posts.

They might be easier to black mail as there community woudl ostracize/shun them for trivial things - whereas a more individual person woudl quite happily be able to tell them to FO or more seriously run the blackmailer as a double agent ala the XX committee. "Your uncle Sams/LIiz II's little puppy now" or really nasty the blackmailer might make an unfortunate cross body movement :-)

Re:A more likely outcome (2)

tlambert (566799) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827411)

Not quite sure why hiring from a heterodox offshoot that both the catholic protestant church consider a heretical cult and in the recent past was involved in armed insurrection against the state is a good idea for sensitive posts.

The Catholics and Protestants believe each other to be heterodox relative to each other. It's difficult to classify the LDS church as a cult, as they have survived more than a generation past the death of their charismatic leader, without also classifying any follower of a faith that at one point had a charismatic leader as a cult. No idea what you are talking about on the armed insurrection comment, so I'll say "citation needed".

http://www.mormonthink.com/QUOTES/gov.htm [mormonthink.com]
http://www.businessinsider.com/11-surprising-things-you-didnt-know-about-mormons-2011-6?op=1 [businessinsider.com]

You should also consider that the vast majority of the US military is recruited from "red states", and three letter agencies also tend to recruit from ex military.

I generally don't believe that respect for authority is always a good thing, But couple that with an abstinence from drugs, alcohol, and in the more devout, even caffeine done for religious reasons, along with foreign language skills from foreign missions on behalf of the LDS church, also for religious reasons, and you'd have a hard time coming up with a better recruiting pool for three letter government agencies.

Re:A more likely outcome (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827415)

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.

..but it's the same for everyone (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826779)

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.

Re:..but it's the same for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826833)

Nobody gave a crap about it then and yes it is part of what defines her.

Re:..but it's the same for everyone (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827329)

The correct response should have been "Who is Pamela Anderson?"

Re:..but it's the same for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826933)

A huge database of people's social lives since they were teenagers makes character assassination VERY easy.

In this case, security through obscurity only works if you are so insignificant that nobody cares about you.

We are at the stage where being tagged on a Facebook photo smoking a joint could have worse repercussions on your life than actually being arrested for possession. I wouldn't associate any stigma with either, but a potential employer might.

Re:..but it's the same for everyone (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827361)

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.

Authoritarian threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826791)

When social networking was getting started with Myspace, Webshots, and Facebook around 2005 and 2006, the sentiment of most of the people involved was that society would adopt a new standard of acceptance. The idea was that since virtually every teenager was posting photos of drinking and sex, that society would come to understand that these are normal behaviors that are not to be considered shameful or "mistakes".

Unfortunately, that's not how things worked out. Society refused to change its standards. The teens were forced to close their webshots accounts. Facebook pages became largely private. And parents resorted to authoritarian threats like "if you post drinking photos online then you'll never get a good job". Schmidt's comments strike me as just another one of these authoritarian threats...

In other news: (2)

dicobalt (1536225) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826799)

Everyone is expected to be perfect all of the time.

Re:In other news: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826859)

I only expect me to be perfect all the time. Everybody else is allowed to make mistakes.

Kids today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826801)

...I just don't get how holding a smartphone during a bong session is not the ultimate party foul.

Eric Schmidt is a total retard (0)

axonis (640949) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826817)

As if anyone with any intelligence uses Google, that's why he is that neck of the woods
Grow up google you are just garbage collectors, i.e. garbo's

Thankfully, Facebook is on the way out.... (5, Interesting)

gatkinso (15975) | about a year and a half ago | (#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).

Re:Thankfully, Facebook is on the way out.... (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826839)

The switch. It's happened before - remember Myspace? It's a ghost town now.

The time isn't right just yet, but give it a few more years and facebook may follow, as a new network rises in its place.

Re:Thankfully, Facebook is on the way out.... (5, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827085)

FWIW my coworker says the same thing about his teenagers. May Facebook and all this other social media crap die out. It's especially odd with teenagers, who normally see their friends every school day. Hint to nerds: girls are actually more fun in person.

EVERYONE In the same boat!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826823)

Attitudes will have to adjust. The days of firing someone because you find a youthful indiscretion online will end with gen Y EXCEPT where there is political motivation to crucify someone.

Actually (4, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#43826849)

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.

Not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826883)

The digital record may fossilize kids reputation in adolescence. But the ability to reinvent oneself has always been somewhat limited. We have been putting kids in jail for a long time now for adolescent misbehavior. That criminal record has followed them for life. To some extent, protecting kids from the consequences of adolescent behavior has been a luxury for those with sufficient resources to do so. For many parents and children that has never really been possible. It may no longer be possible for anyone.

I have to respect Eric Schmidt on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826893)

I have to respect Eric Schmidt for having sufficient character to change his position on people being able to protect their privacy.

I'm sure Steve Ballmer's quadrocopter buzzing his house several times a day had nothing to do with his change of heart ...

double-secret war crimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43826953)

All religions are belief systems (B.S.), but not all belief systems are religions.
(emacs vs. vi not withstanding) Endless wars are best fought with editors.

Last Name Variant (1)

F. Lynx Pardinus (2804961) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827001)

Set up an account for your children/teenagers with a variant of their last name. So if they're "Michael Johnson," use "Michael John" on Facebook. Their friends will still understand who it is. Your kids will thank you when they grow up.

Common names have an advantage (2)

Hrrrg (565259) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827029)

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, then what other people post may have a disproportionate impact. However, it seems to me that people who have a common name (ie John Smith) will have an advantage over other people. This leads me to believe that, in the future, a lot of people will be changing their names to something more common to restore some of their privacy.

Re:Common names have an advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827257)

You're confusing anonymity with privacy, which is the same thing that will bite todays kids in the ass in a decade or so.

All future politicians will be Amish (1)

danlip (737336) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827035)

They'll be the only ones without an online record of all the stupid stuff they did as teens.

Re:All future politicians will be Amish (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827071)

But the Amish aren't stupid enough to become politicians.

Re:All future politicians will be Amish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827077)

They'll be the only ones without an online record of all the stupid stuff they did as teens.

And then the documentary teams will swarm right on in to restore "the balance"...

Eric Schmidt was channeling Jefferson (1)

epistemology (697458) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827079)

in his 1999 comment: "Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching." --Thomas Jefferson

Not all that different (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827083)

The digital age really doesn't change how our history follows us around. Ask anyone from a small town in North America, they will tell you that all their neighbours and potential employers know about the mistakes and pranks they participated in when they were young. For generations people have remarked, "Oh, there goes Jimmy, the kid who stole my apples," or "Sally, here, once broke my window." The community doesn't forget.

The digital age may have expanded coverage to a wider audience, but it's essentially the same thing.

I have experience with this (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827087)

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

I disagree (1)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827101)

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.

Maybe he's realised he can be tracked too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827121)

Drones, spying and hacking, data leaks and data dumps all can affect him and he's realising that he's just as vulnerable as the pleb and, being more wealthy, a bigger target whose acts WILL be spread far and wide to denigrate him.

So maybe he's realising that privacy is something HE values and that telling people "you shouldn't have anything to hide" is not in his personal best interests.

Blinding White Light (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827149)

That's right we must all be careful about what we say and who knows a good event from a mistake. I mean honest to god before I dropped that sugar cube and saw the blinding white light and spoke directly to god and new all of the absolute truths I couldn't even see through concrete and draw the steel beams that compose the core of the building. Now everything is so clear. And it is so quick compared to scientology. And I do regret killing those people but once one has seen the absolute truth common folk are so annoying that I just snap now and then. May the great hum of the universe be within your socks at all times.

People Change and Anonymity can be Good (4, Insightful)

Gim Tom (716904) | about a year and a half ago | (#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!

Discrimination vs. "character-forming" ... (5, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | about a year and a half ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827215)

"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.

If you want to know which side Google is on ... (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827237)

... just think about their policy of enforcing real name accounts on G+, youtube ...

"shouldn't be doing it in the first place" (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827259)

[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.

Do Like I Did... (1)

JohnnyMindcrime (2487092) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827287)

...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 have to poke my snout into the lives of others in order to feel I'm achieving something.

I actually take great pride in anonymity and having enough self-confidence just to go do what makes me happy without giving a flying f*ck what anyone else thinks - yep, it took middle age to discover that fully.

Eric Schmidt is a douchebag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827313)

"You have to fight for your privacy or you will lose it," to my enormous corporation that I built on the premise of collecting as much private information about you as I can, so I can sell it to the highest bidder.

If Eric cares so much about privacy (and I promise you he doesn't), he wouldn't be part of Google.

even worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43827323)

not only what we did will be on record forever but also what others said we had done.

Back on-track (1)

LoadWB (592248) | about a year and a half ago | (#43827375)

"This is quite different from his infamous 2009 remark"

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

Why doe snayone care what Eric Schmidt thinks? (5, Informative)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year and a half ago | (#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?

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