NPR has an interview with Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, author of “Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age,” and an excerpt from the book. Mayer-Schonberger says that allowing data to be forgotten can provide privacy protection for individuals. NPR writes:
Evolving digital technology has provided a steady aid for people in their quest to remember virtually everything. Social networking sites remind you of friends’ birthdays, digital calendars send you reminders, and photos posted online preserve memories indefinitely.
But Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, author of Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, argues that now is the time to reintroduce our ability to forget. The indelible digital memory can be as unforgiving as it is helpful. Mayer-Shonberger suggests an expiration date for information.
From the book:
But even if Stacy and Andrew had known, should everyone who self-discloses information lose control over that information forever, and have no say about whether and when the Internet forgets this information? Do we want a future that is forever unforgiving because it is unforgetting? “Now a stupid adolescent mistake can take on major implications and go on their records for the rest of their lives,” comments Catherine Davis, a PTA co-president. If we had to worry that any information about us would be remembered for longer than we live, would we still express our views on matters of trivial gossip, share personal experiences, make various political comments, or would we self-censor? The chilling effect of perfect memory alters our behavior. Both Snyder and Feldmar said that in hindsight they would have acted differently. “Be careful what you post online,” said Snyder, and Feldmar added perceptively “I should warn people that the electronic footprint you leave on the Net will be used against you. It cannot be erased.”