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EurekAlert.org: Privacy: Think before you press the "Delete" key

Oct 26, 2000, 21:01 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Duncan Graham-Rowe)

"A computer records things indefinitely. "It never forgets, and never forgives," says Rosenbaum. A mixture of techniques, ranging from simply knowing where to look to high-tech retrieval methods such as scanning tunnelling microscopy, make it possible to dig up a whole host of information from a hard drive or a floppy disc."

"Rosenbaum is troubled by the fact that this allows words never intended to be seen by others to be exhumed for all to see. He says it is unethical to take words that were never intended to be published, and use them as evidence against their author. It's like punishing people merely for thinking things they shouldn't, he says."

"So Rosenbaum is seeking a way to protect people from the perils of modern technology. In a recent issue of the progressive law journal Green Bag, he proposes that the courts should no longer be permitted to attach legal value to "cyber trash". At the very least, Congress should pass a law limiting the legal lifespan of deleted data."

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