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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Internet Father Against “the Right to Be Forgotten”

Father of the worldwide web, turned Google spinner, Vint Cerf has laid into EU web policy claiming its plans to regulate the Internet were absolutely impractical to enforce and even “terrifying” in future.

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Vint Cerf explained that the so-called “right to be forgotten” on the Internet was actually not possible, so he ranted to the local press that it was impossible to delete data from everyone’s PC only because you want the others to forget about something.

This means that the European regulators have yet to explain more precisely what their “right to be forgotten” means, but the EU Commissioner Viviane Reding is willing to provide the Internet users new controls over data like articles or pictures on social networks, which appear about them on the Internet. However, it could cause some great headaches at Google, where Vint Cerf is currently working, as it would be forced to ensure that pictures or articles which an individual doesn’t like aren’t accessible any longer.

Meanwhile, Vint Cerf isn’t the only one with such point of view. For instance, the UK’s Deputy Information Commissioner David Smith claimed that he hadn’t got a clue what the new rights were actually about. He pointed out that “the right to be forgotten” seems to contain “an element of political gesturing”. Vint Cerf warned that it would be very, very hard – almost impossible – to force the worldwide web to forget something you don’t want it to remember. He’s right, because if you remove the original file from the web, you can’t be sure it’s clean now, because it is too easy today to download and copy and re-upload files again later. In other words, “the right to be forgotten” can’t be implemented technically.

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