Ctrl + Z: The Right to Be Forgotten, by Meg Leta Jones
A gripping insight into the digital debate over data ownership, permanence and policy
‘This is going on your permanent record!’ is a threat that has never held more weight than it does in the Internet Age, when information lasts indefinitely.
Data about us is created, shared, collected, analyzed, and processed at an overwhelming scale. The damage caused can be severe, affecting relationships, employment, academic success, and any number of other opportunities - and it can also be long lasting.
One possible solution to this threat? A digital right to be forgotten, which would in turn create a legal duty to delete, hide, or anonymise information at the request of another user.
The highly controversial right has been criticized as a repugnant affront to principles of expression and access, as unworkable as a technical measure, and as effective as trying to put the cat back in the bag.
Ctrl+Z provides guidance for a way forward by looking at new theories of privacy and offering a set of nuanced choices. To help us choose, law and technology scholar Meg Leta Jones provides a digital information life cycle, reflects on particular legal cultures, and analyzes international interoperability. In the end, the right to be forgotten can be innovative, liberating, and globally viable.
“A crucial question in the digital age is whether society will reclaim our ability to forget. The right to be forgotten raises important questions of free speech, privacy, reputation, and dignity. Jones's book wrestles with these questions with rigor. An indispensable read for those interested in exploring the pressing issue of reinvention in an era when networked tools do not forget.” - Danielle Keats Citron, University of Maryland
“[A] groundbreaking comparative work.” - Harvard Law Review