Information bankruptcy

Here’s an interseting idea from Delete by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, which has echoes with something said by Google recently. Once upon a time (i.e. 20 years ago) it was possible to wipe the slate clean in terms of reputation. People forgot things, you could move from one city or country to another and start afresh. But nowadays this is virtually impossible. The internet never forgets.

So how about the idea of being able to declare information bankruptcy. Something akin to hitting a re-set button and wiping the internet clean of any information or images relating to you.

I think it was the head of Google UK who said, very recently, that people should be able to get new identities once they reached 18 or 21 to escape from the amount of information avavilable about them online (including the searches they’ve done on Google I wonder

Nice idea, in theory. Of course, you could simply be a bit more careful about what you search for, write, download or upload in the first place.

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2 Responses to Information bankruptcy

  1. Max Kaehn says:

    What we really need is for people to come up with a social rule, comparable to Godwin’s Law, of a time beyond which it is gauche to call out someone’s faults if they clearly aren’t like that any more— something simple like “seven year rule”, which IIRC is the same as it takes for bankruptcy to fall off your credit record. So if someone brings up embarrassing photos from longer ago than that, they should be scoffed off stage with people shouting “seven year rule!”. (This does not apply if there’s a continued pattern of bad behavior and you’re just pointing out how long it’s been going on.)

  2. That’s a seriously good idea!

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