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.

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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.

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Who is Daniel K. Appelquist?

I'm an American Ex-Pat living in London. I'm a father of two and husband of one. I am the Open Web Advocate for Telefónica Digital, focusing on the Open Web Device. I founded Mobile Monday London, Over the Air and the Mobile 2.0 conference series.

The opinions expressed here are my own, however, and neither Telefónica nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.

My books:
Mobile Internet for Dummies

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