Of course this is going to upset law enforcement, but in light of the hot topic of the weekend, how companies like Facebook and Google manage users privacy, maybe France might be on the right side of consumers for a change.
France is not known for being particularly aggressive or progressive when it comes to protecting consumers, ala the 3 strikes you are out law, their stance on cryptography, or that like many countries the right to privacy is not enshrined in national law. But every so often France does something that actually seems like it might be a good idea with long lasting implications for the EU as well as the People of France. Namely – the right to forget Law.
The BBC Reports:
A proposed law in the country would give net users the option to have old data about themselves deleted. This right-to-forget would force online and mobile firms to dispose of e-mails and text messages after an agreed length of time or on the request of the individual concerned. Divina Frau-Meigs, Professor of American Studies and Media Sociology at the Paris Sorbonne University, believes the law would counter against unguarded communications becoming an official record. Source: BBC
Actually this might be a good idea, as there are people who do stupid things online using their real name that tends to haunt them for a while. France might end up being a test bed for this kind of legislation and one can expect law enforcement and companies to scream loud and hard on this one. Companies will need information forever in some cases to ensure that litigation however long ago can be successfully dealt with, and Law Enforcement is always going to want ot have as long a trail on a person as possible. Some cases that take 10 to 20 years to solve might rely on a critical e-mail that is 16 years old.
It is an intriguing idea and it might never pass in its entirety. But it is refreshing to see a country take on the idea of “forever” and shield people against things that are truly old that no longer apply to the person they are today. This could also shield people who do stupid stuff online and who find that having a law like this can help them overcome the negative influence that they have done to their reputations without having to generate a ton of good press on their own behalf.
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(Cross-posted @ TechWag)