The Atlantic recently published a thought provoking article that looks at the rising concerns over digital memories, online privacy and who controls the data that makes up our online lives. The piece looks at how cultural differences between the United States and Europe are driving internet policy and case law. More specifically, it examines the recent trend of European countries challenging American corporations over the right to control private information online. Quoting from the article:
Last November, the European Union announced data protection goals for 2011, which include “clarifying the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’, i.e. the right of individuals to have their data no longer processed and deleted when they are no longer needed for legitimate purposes”
Conflicts arise when the right to privacy (named a European value in the post) clashes with the American value of free speech. Claims of censorship regularly appear, even in academic circles.
Martin Abrams, a policy director with leading global privacy think tank Hunton & Williams . . . [would] rather people focus on what he considers the real issues of Internet accountability and the increasingly popular notion of “data stewardship” among corporations. Data will inevitably be out there, Abrams believes, and what matters now is a dialogue about how to retire certain data.
Legacy Locker was founded to help individuals manage online assets after a loved one has passed away. While these privacy battles between individuals, corporations and countries primarily affect the living, concerns over online data ownership and stewardship also apply to the profiles and passwords of the digitally deceased. Concerns over who owns our memories online will only grow as this issue gains wider attention.
What is clear is that privacy will play a major role in the evolution of the internet. It is also clear that until the courts establish ground rules for global online privacy (including the rights of the deceased), it is up to individuals to take proactive steps to pass on their digital effects securely and with dignity.Uncategorized 1 Comment