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Does Archive.org make any judgment calls when it comes to honoring requests to remove content? For example, I can see people trying to scrub evidence of their own lies or promises or other damaging misdeeds asking for their content to be removed.



It feels like burning old newspapers if a subject of an old story doesn’t like the story. Or a book author forcing a library to remove her books from the shelves. There is something Orwellian about letting people purge history of they don’t like it. When something is published and public, the bell has already been rung. Should we force people who saw the original content to never speak of it? Can we sue them to prevent them from talking about the “bad” content? Erasing sites from Wayback, to me, feels like the sanctioning of censorship, or erasing history. The so-called “right” to be forgotten is a strange right in free societies. Does the right to be forgotten give people the right to destroy old newspapers than someone has saved? Can people go into someone’s home and seize books that depict the claimant in a negative light? Wayback is like a photo gallery of the past. We shouldn’t be allowing people to rewrite history.


I personally find a "right ro be forgotten" as such laughable, but I understand it was specifically introduced not to expose something stupid you did or said, or a non-advantageous photo taken from you or similar as your only public record in times of clickbait and staged polarizing crap. Then there's the problem of copyrighted material, and of publishing stuff on your site with the intent of making money off your user's attention via ads, one of the very few avenues of financing content creation. All these concerns have to be balanced against another, which creates a difficult legal environment for archival sites.


Think of all the things you did as teenager or child. Now think of all these things as being documented on the internet. Do we really want to be haunted by our past in such a way?


Yes, we all agree children and teenagers do stupid shit. Since we all acknowledge it, can we be mature about it and not "haunt" people with it?


Easy to say as a bystander. What if its you kid who's being bullied or who got bullied? What are you gonna do about it? My other post in this thread addresses that point [1]

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20162590


I'm sorry, but these kind of straw men are making discussions on the subject impossible. I argued that we shouldn't judge adults based on the stupid things they did as children.

> Do we really want to be haunted by our past in such a way?

To which my reply was: let's be mature about it and not care about trivialities from someone's past.

Now you change the subject to: "What if its you kid who's being bullied or who got bullied?". My kid being bullied "right now" is not the same as "my kid did some stupid shit 10 years ago and people are making fun of him now because of it". This is another problem with another solution, and it's not something I argued about.


> Since we all acknowledge it, can we be mature about it and not "haunt" people with it?

No, we can't.


That's a lot of false equivalence in one comment.

Whatever we each may feel about the Archive's policy, it's a bit over the top to compare it with forcing someone to never speak of what they saw, or to go into anyone's home to seize their books or destroy their personal newspaper collection.


If the new owner of a domain can erase all the history of content published by a previous owner, that is kind of similar to forcing everyone to never speak of it again.


Personally I'd be very interested in subscribing to an archive of things Archive.org has removed on request.


Like what Lumen ( https://www.lumendatabase.org/ ) does for DMCA takedowns? Yeah that'd be cool to see what's happening and keep track of those requests.


> The so-called “right” to be forgotten is a strange right in free societies.

I believe the "right" (I agree that it should be quoted) to be forgotten is a temporary stopgap measure for those who haven't received a proper digital literacy education beforehand (that is, almost everyone). I expect the "right" will hang around for a long time, for the lack of better alternatives.


Children do awful things, including to each other. Bullying, for example. Nowadays, it can get recorded easily because everyone carries a smartphone. And it gets spread because of the Internet.

The right to be forgotten is a simple way to say: "I do not want this content to exist on the Internet". Does that stop the content from existing? No, of course not. Revenge pornography can still be found after that Pinkwhateveritwascalled website got shut down. But it got more difficult, and its a matter of supply and demand. If the website is only accessible via Tor, then those who got the content on their computer took more effort into obtaining the content. You could make the same argument for child pornography.

That being said, the real problem is the lack of prosecution for the content creators. And that is true for child pornography and revenge pornography and bullying videos. However, trend is that the latter 2 are on the rise on the public web. If the right to be forgotten can slow that trend down, I'd say that's a good thing.


You have a good point, and that's why the "right" will and has to say right now. Ultimately I think a disclosure of information of any kind against the subject's will will become a direct criminal charge in the future (in contrast to a set of specialized laws that we have now), and then the "right" will be obsoleted.


Or maybe a temporary stopgap measure until privacy is so diminished that society realizes everyone does "unacceptable" things and stops being outraged by what is normal.

I mean, probably >90% of people have been deeply drunk at some point of their life. So objetively and rationally speaking, a drunk photo is not a reasonable reason to reject someone from, e.g., a job. Maybe if such photos become widespread we will come to our senses in this?


"90 percent of people do it" is not an argument against rejecting someone for it. If I had two otherwise-identical candidates but one of them had photos of themselves online passed out in a pool of their own vomit and the other didn't, I'd pick the one who didn't. Same for other evidence of poor judgment, like a picture of them in a racist Halloween costume or comments mocking a disabled person or screenshots from an oh-so-funny thread on 8chan. If you don't want something to be part of your public image keep it private.


I'd say it's quite an argument. If 90% of people do it, it means that there is a 90% a prior probability that your other candidate has done it as well. So there is a 90% probability that you are basing your decision entirely in a non-factor. Surely there are more meaningful differences* between candidates to take into account that one that has 90% probability of not even being there at all.

To each their own, though.

*I know you said "otherwise identical", but that's not a very realistic situation and if it did happen, it would justify choosing by just any irrelevant difference, like one candidate having one day of work experience more than the other, so I don't think that says much about the importance of a criterion.


A 90 percent chance is still better than a 100 percent chance, especially when it comes to public evidence. 90 percent of people have probably said the N-word but I'm still not hiring somebody with public video of them doing it.




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