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TOPIC: The right to be forgotten is the right to have an imperfect past

The right to be forgotten is the right to have an imperfect past 18 Dec 2017 07:50 #5356

  • Paul-UB40
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Suzanne Moore
The data protection bill is about refusing to give ownership of our identity to the likes of Facebook and Google – because we all make mistakes when young

Recently, on a crowded bus, I saw a woman struggling with a toddler in full tantrum mode. The little child was sobbing and screaming “What is my password? What is my password” over and over again. The child’s mother could do nothing but shush her. Did this child have a password? Did the mother know it? We all hoped so. Anything to stop the meltdown.

UK citizens to get more rights over personal data under new laws
Everyone has seen a child who can only just walk, and hardly use a spoon, master an iPad. It all comes so naturally, say the proud and somewhat stunned parents. One consequence of an increasing ease with technology over the past decade or so is that we now have young adults who’ve only ever known a world in which personal information and images are circulated online. A world in which an online presence is deemed a necessity. The violation of one’s own privacy has been part of the deal for this “exposure” – despite the fact that increasing numbers are learning the hard way that once something is online, it never really goes away.

The data protection bill now seeks to give people the right to force the huge companies who dominate the internet to delete personal data. During the election campaign Theresa May mentioned plans to give people the right to request deletion of social media posts, and it looks like it’s now happening. Labour’s Tom Watson has stated he supports the changes proposed by Matt Hancock, the minister of state for digital and culture. “Labour’s manifesto committed to allowing young people to remove content shared on the internet before they turned 18,” he says.

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