SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Should people be allowed to erase information abut themselves online? I just got back from a tech policy summit that I moderated in Napa, discussing that very issue.

Say for instance you post something to Facebook and you want to take it down, it’s generally agreed you should have the right to do that. But what about if you post something about me? Do I have the right to order you to take it down if I don’t like it?

In Europe, they have much stronger privacy laws that sometimes trump our free speech rights. Some people there think that you do have the right to be forgotten. There are even instances where people think criminal records should be expunged after they serve their time.

KCBS’ Tech Report:

On the other hand, arguments are being made that that would violate the free speech of the person that originally did the posting. So now we have a big debate among the privacy community.

History has always recorded events, even before Apple and tablets and smartphones. You can’t erase what was written in a newspaper or in a book, but with the technology we have today things have just become so much easier and much more instantaneous.

Instead of going to the county records hall to find out how much my neighbor paid for his house, I can just look it up on

It’s much easier to pry on each other and find the embarrassing stuff and the dirt about those in our community, but if we didn’t post it it’s not clear whether or not we have the right to take it down.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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