The Right To Be Forgotten: Erasing Bad Memories From The World


In the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” starring Jim Carey and Kate Winslet, the estranged couple decided to have each other erased from their memories; I wonder if we have this technology today, would people ant to wipe their bad or unwanted memories?

Even though the technology to partially erasing memory is not yet arrived, however, the ability to remove memory from the world does exist. About 2 weeks ago, the European court of justice said that Google  must comply with request from individuals to remove links on search result pages to newspaper articles and other web pages that might cause embarrassment. They call this “the right to be forgotten”.

Do you think this should be allowed? How about freedom of speech? Do we have the right to know if people have done bad things 10 years ago? Should this person have the right to be forgotten for what he/she did 10 years ago if the person has changed to be a better person?

When we talk about predictive analytics, it has an assumption that people habits are unlikely to change over time; this is the reason of why predictive model can be calculate potential of an event/outcome: who will buy, who will quit, who will get injured, who will go to jail, even to predict who will be dead in the next 1 year.

Using past data, a predictive modeler can identify someone’s probably future. The question is: how long back should we use the past data? Is 1 year data considered enough? What about 2 or 5 or 10 year? Would the past data from 10 years back still relevant to predict someone’s future?

For example, a person with criminal record 10 years ago may still have the same criminal habit in the past 1 year. In this case, we don’t need the past 10 years data, 1 year data is enough. On another example, a person with shop lifting record 10 years ago but she is now a successful lawyer. Would this still make her as a high probability to do criminal? In her case should she be forgiven that she has the right to be forgotten by newspapers and Google regarding her past criminal record?

What do you think?


Eka Aulia is a professional in financial sector with over 9 years experience. He specializes in Business Analytics, CRM strategy and Talent Analytics. He has broad international experience, having lived and worked in 5 cities in 5 countries: New York, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Bangalore and Jakarta. In his spare time he loves to run, read books, drinks a good cup of coffee and listens to jazz music. And he's a triathlete wannabe :) Connect with him on LinkedIn:

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