CCT Prof Meg Leta-Jones new book CTRL + Z reviewed by New York Times

<a href=””>New York Times Book Review CTRL + Z</a>

The Right to Be Forgotten
By Meg Leta Jones
267 pp. New York University, $29.95.

This survey of the legal and policy landscape around the “right to be forgotten” in the digital age reads as a painful reminder of why laws that were developed before the invention of photography and sound recording fall short when we consider dignity and privacy today.

In his 2009 book “Delete,” Viktor Mayer-Schönberger warned that digital networks could “forever tether us to all our past actions, making it impossible, in practice, to escape them.” Jones reminds us that this tether is not automatic but a “structure of discoverability” that can be altered. For example, in 2014, Europe’s highest court ruled that individuals could ask Google to have negative information removed or “delisted” from search results. What we need, Jones argues, is not complete erasure but “digital redemption,” as in the way American bankruptcy laws allow people in debt to start over. Applied to our digital lives, such measures would keep us from being eternally haunted by an embarrassing photograph or ill-advised tweet.

The book leaves us wanting more in the way of suggested regulations, but by laying out the terrain so thoughtfully, and highlighting the concepts that should guide our actions, Jones has created the groundwork for a much needed conversation on the profound problem of permanent digital ballasts in the 21st century.