Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Google quietly brings forgetting to the U.S.

Evan Schuman | July 14, 2016
Seeing all your Google activity in one place can be eye-opening, and having the ability to delete any of it carries some far-reaching implications

There’s something else to consider here, though, and this has societal implications. Google’s forget policy has some key right-to-know overlaps with its takedown policy. The takedown policy allows people to request that stories about or images of them be removed from the database. The forget policy allows the user to decide on his own to delete something.

Should everyone have the right to delete his online history? What about terrorists who want to shield from law enforcement history about sites they have visited? What if it’s a CEO or elected or appointed government official who wants to hide activity that’s embarrassing or hints at illegality?

Sure, “terrorist” is an emotionally charged term that I included to feed fear and paranoia. Maybe the right to delete is similar to free speech, though: It’s only as strong as the degree to which it protects the most vile among us. I like being able to edit my history, but I am painfully aware that allowing the worst among us to do the same can have undesired consequences.

That all said, this is a powerful privacy tool. Use it as you choose, but be mindful of the bigger implications of what Google has done.

 

Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.