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A new law promising internet users the “right to be forgotten” will be proposed by the European Commission on Wednesday. It says people will be able to ask for data about them to be deleted and firms will have to comply unless there are “legitimate” grounds to retain it…

“These rules are particularly aimed at young people as they are not always as aware as they could be about the consequence of putting photos and other information on social network websites, or about the various privacy settings available,” said Matthew Newman…

Although the existing directive already contains the principle of “data minimisation”, Mr Newman said that the new law would reinforce the idea by declaring it “a right”…

The commissioner, Viviane Reding, said that firms would have to explicitly seek people’s permission to use data about them and could not proceed on the basis of “assumed” consent in situations where approval was required.

Her proposed law says that internet users must also be notified when their data is collected, and be told for what purpose it is being processed and for how long it will be stored…

The bill also suggests people must be given easier access to the data held on them…in addition to the right to have it deleted.

However, the commissioner said that she recognised there were some circumstances under which this right would not apply. “The archives of a newspaper are a good example. It is clear that the right to be forgotten cannot amount to a right of the total erasure of history,” Ms Reding told delegates.

RTFA. There’s a certain amount of regulatory crap I’ve left out. The core of the concept is worth discussing.



  1. KMFIX says:

    The EU must really hate George Orwell.

  2. MacBros says:

    How do you sell 72.9 Items? Did somebody only buy 90% of an item.

    For sale, 10% of an item!

  3. Hmeyers2 says:

    This idea sounds like complete clusterfuck so naturally I think they should do it.

    I enjoy watching bureaucracy FAILs and this time it is Europe and not my problem.

    Key issues: 99% of personal data is as interesting as monkey shit like the crap posted on FaceBook.

    Employers who want to know your “FaceBook” page or other stupid crap like shouldn’t be complaining when they have their HR people fucking around on the internet wasting company resources.

    Privacy is overrated in the sense that as a general rule of thumb no one actually cares about “your data”.

    Look a Newt Gingrich. This guy has his personal info every place on the planet and has made an ass of himself 50,000 times over and just won a primary for President.

    Stage #1: Personal infos on internet.
    Stage #2: Embarrassment.
    Stage #3: Realization that everyone does it, no one cares about your personal info and that it didn’t matter and you were making too big a deal about things to begin with.

    • msbpodcast says:

      I think you can safely leave out #2 as it requires something I have not seen demonstrated this electoral cycle: Shame.

  4. deowll says:

    And of course these laws will apply to those companies that have a physical presence in your country so unless you can get some sort of treaty with the nation the hardware is in then you have the problem of blocking access.

    The odds are decent you can find somewhere that doesn’t give a bleep what the EU thinks so set up some servers there and sell data with the money going through third parties.

    This is going to turn into a pit of snakes with the network providers having to blow staggering amounts of cash on blocking while the blocked sites can line up new URLs to use to redirect to them by the thousands.

  5. msbpodcast says:

    The wish to have something deleted from the internet might be commendable but lamentably it can’t be guaranteed.

    The internet is global*. Governments are local.

    The missmatch in hegemony should be obvious.

    *) The internet is an instrument of business, big business, very big business, very rich big business, more specifically global business and they’re not about to let the reach of the internet get away from them.

  6. Ignore-gerbils-without-backbones says:

    I keep forgetting most of you lot neither read nor have the capacity to reflect on a topic. The attention span of a cricket naturally follows a miniscule brain pan.

    The EU wastes lots of time on unneeded regulating. Worthwhile seeing an attempt to defend privacy. Pressing to affirm options at the entry point. Which is the topic, after all.

    • NobodySpecial says:

      If you read the bill it reduces regulation – you only need to register for data protection once in one country and you can operate in all of them.

      It also puts in requirements on companies doing business in the Eu – you can’t simply have your data processing in Borat-istan sell everyones credit card details to drug dealers and claim that it was perfectly legal to do that in Borat-istan

      Similarly US companies handling Eu medical systems can’t just hand over all the patient data to US drug companies as they do now – claiming that they are exempt from foreign data regulations under the Patriot act

  7. dusanmal says:

    As no one have mentioned yet – this is also futile. Information which is once out on the Internets takes life of its own. If it is available even for a given time, it will be copied and stored and made available somewhere else. Erasing everything on someone on Facebook is not equal to erasing everything on someone that was on Facebook and is scattered somewhere else now. You can’t regulate the life. Typical Progressive Utopian wishful thinking.

  8. Big Brother says:

    Cloud computing. RIP.

  9. AnObserver says:

    Hey, great idea. We should pass this law in the US, but require if of government databases, too. Like, would you please erase me from your gun purchase database, your TSA database, that damn IRS database. Just wipe me clean….

  10. jimmyr says:

    Someone buys 72.9 items on Amazon every second! We have to find this person and stop him!

  11. Animby - Just Phoning It In says:

    There are ways to use the web anonymously – or at least under a nom de net. It’s not always convenient but it’s not all the hard, either.

    The problem comes down to TANSTAAFL, again. We get a huge amount of information and service from the internet at no easily apparent cost. The truth, of course, is we DO pay for it in the form of information gathered and sold or traded or used to advertise to us.

    I wonder if opting out of this data collection could automatically kick you into a paid internet model? You access the net anonymously and without and tracking or persistent cookies and your ISP adds $10 a month to your bill. Then the ISP sends Google a mill or two for each search page accessed. Microsoft gets a half a penny every time an email is sent and erases it from the Hotmail servers as soon as delivery is confirmed.

    Are you willing to pay for internet access? No? Okay, your data is gathered. Simple.

  12. Lou says:

    Good idea that will go nowhere. Not even sure if It’s possible.


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