60-Seconds #320 : Should history be erased? Should we let Google erase our memories if they're out of date?

by Fred Showker


60-Seconds Back in September I was following the story about the guy in Europe who wanted to "be forgotten" by Google. It's really unbelievable to me that intelligent people would come up with something like this. Of course, there are some real kooks in this world after all. Then an article by Corinne Iozzio in Popular Science brought the issue to broad daylight. You can manipulate and even erase history just by exploiting Google!

Do you think we should be concerned about "erasing the past" ... should things be deleted from history? Should things no longer be available via search engine searches today that was readily available yesterday? It just doesn't seem honest, does it? Some people these days seem to be casual enough to treat it trivially. I remember our discussions with Chuck Green's Facebook following about people colorizing historic black and white photos -- which lead to my 60-Seconds 302: Should we colorize history?. A lot of people seemed to be against it.

The Right To Be Forgotten

In Corinne Iozzio's article she writes :

Quoting Corinne Iozzio begins The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in May that private citizens may request that search engines remove erroneous, inadequate, or irrelevant links from their results. The landmark decision known as the right to be forgotten. Quoting Corinne Iozzio ends

Does that seem intelligent to you? Can, Hitler's family now make Google remove all links to "Hitler" references? Does that seem right to you? Iozzio continues:

Quoting Corinne Iozzio begins Google received more than 41,000 removal requests in the first four days it accepted them, and began deleting links in early July. Quoting Corinne Iozzio ends

This seems a little cock-eyed to me. Once you could walk into a library and find notable items from history. Today, at its own doing, Google has become the world's library. And Google loves being handed more and more power over people's lives.

Quoting Corinne Iozzio begins The ease with which Google offers a profile of anyone makes many people leery of how their lives look online. Quoting Corinne Iozzio ends

Who should be forgotten?

I once wrote an article about cybercrime spammers running Pump-&-Dump schemes online. I stirred up quite a stink and the SEC* finally went after a group of the crooks who were spamming 25-million email addresses every 4 hours. Some years later, one of websites spreading the schemes contacted me and demanded that I remove their name from the article. Supposedly they had cleaned up their act. I refused. Those were evil acts done at that time. Why should anyone feel so arrogant to think they can go back and erase evil deeds they've done? That event, that circumstance became part of history the day I documented it.

How far will we allow this to go. Who else should have their memory erased? Lee Harvey Oswald -- if his family demands it? Osama Ben Laden if the IS demands it? Hitler? And the bigger question is do we really trust Google to do it and do it correctly? How far do you trust Google? Do you feel lucky? Do'ya?

What's the difference between 'outdated' and history?

Consider the slippery slope -- who gets the power to decide what is "outdated" content -- and no longer history? The article about Lee Harvey Oswald is certainly outdated. The article about Selma is certainly outdated. When does content become outdated? A recipe for Sachertorte* would certainly be considered out of date, since it was introduced in 1832. But it sure would be a shame to have it be forgotten -- or for Google to devalue it simply because it is outdated. How far should anyone be allowed to "erase" history? If Google can erase anything at will, shouldn't they also be burning all the books in the libraries? All novels by Ernest Hemingway are outdated. What other content on the web is outdated content ... the Bible, or the Constitution of the United States?

If we give Google the power to erase anything -- for all practical purposes, it ceases to exist. Most other search engines are driven by Google or pull from Google, whether they admit it or not. And, as you know, there are only a hand-full of people in the world actually know what really goes on behind the walls of Google.

big brother In my humble opinion, we should be very careful how much power we give to Google. Keep in mind, the big face on the big blue screen may not have been Bill Gates, or the government after all!

If you agree, just share, pin or pass this article along. You can click, and pass along the small thumbnail below for my Facebook Meme quoting a sage line from George Orwell's famous book Nineteen Eighty-Four* published in 1949!

fred_c_125 And, thanks for reading

Fred Showker

      Editor/Publisher : DTG Magazine
      +FredShowker on Google+ or most social medias @Showker
      Published online since 1988

Orwell : who controls past GO Google Can Now Delete Your Past -- But How Much Should Be Erased?
GO 60-Seconds 302: Should we colorize history?
GO Pump & Dump Stock Scams... you're about to get ripped off
GO Who controls the past, controls the future.


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