Should Data Take-Down be a Right?

Interesting post over at Mashable today about the failure of many social network sites to take down personal images even after the user has explicitly “deleted” them. The issue of data take-down is one we’ve started discussing in the W3C Social Web Incubator Group. The example of deleting images you’ve placed online is a simple one, but what about all the other digital traces we leave on the Web? In a world where more and more of our identity is expressed online, should data take-down be a universal human right? We’re collecting user stories that illustrate concepts like this in order to provoke some thought, both about what the future of a more social Web should look like and what technical underpinnings need to be in place to make this happen.

Liked this post? Follow this blog to get more. 

Posted in W3C, Web 2.0 Tagged with: ,
2 comments on “Should Data Take-Down be a Right?
  1. David Mery says:

    Data take down is only one tactic of a larger issue, and one that is not working well as the Cambridge research you mention has shown. I favour an approach based on information accountability and wrote up on this at

    You may also be interested by Bruce Schneier’s essay at

    br -d

  2. David says:

    Taking pictures of people in public whom you don’t know is not illegal. You don’t need their permission to include them in your pictures. Taking a picture of a person in “private places” within the public space is illegal. e.g. in a washroom stall or a changing room at the apparel store.

    Images and information stored with a business (regardless of their online and offline presence) are private and are subject to privacy laws.

    I think the debate hinges on whether we deem social networking sites to be a public space, or we deem them to be a private place perhaps from the angle of information stored with a business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Who is Daniel K. Appelquist?

I'm an American ex-pat living in London and an independent consultant and advocate for emerging web technologies, the open web, open source and open data. As well, I am co-chair of the W3C Technical Architecture Group, I am a founder and co-organizer of the Over the Air hack day series and a founder of Mobile Monday London. I'm a former .com CTO and subsequent .com refugee. I am a parent dealing with the increasing complexities of raising children in a hyper-connected world.

If you are so inclined, you may find my public key on

My books:
Mobile Internet for Dummies

For more info, see my Linkedin profile.

More (probably than you ever wanted to know) about Torgo.


Liked this post? Follow this blog to get more.