selection of publications

  • Escaping the Panopticon Over Time: Balancing the Right To Be Forgotten and Freedom of Expression in a Technological Architecture

  • Forgetting Bits and Pieces: An Exploration of the 'Right to Be Forgotten' as Implementation of 'Forgetting' in Online Memory Processes

  • Timing the Right to Be Forgotten: A Study into "Time" as a Factor in Deciding About Retention or Erasure of Data


selection of work in progress*

  • PhD Thesis
    • Chapter 5 (will follow soon)
    • Chapter 6 (will follow soon)
*comments and/or feedback is highly appreciated!

Escaping the Panopticon Over Time

Balancing the Right To Be Forgotten and Freedom of Expression in a Technological Architecture
8 April 2017, paper by P. Korenhof and L. Gorzeman

Paper abstract The 'right to be forgotten' has been labelled censorship and disastrous for the freedom of expression. In this paper, we explain that effecting the 'right to be forgotten' with regard to search results is 'censorship' at the level of information retrieval. We however claim it is the least heavy yet most effective means to get the minimum amount of censorship overall, while enabling people to evolve beyond their past opinions. We argue that applying the 'right to be forgotten' to search results is not a question of just 'censoring' search engines, but that seen from a broader perspective we - as society - will inevitably have to deal with developments in information technologies and choose between three types of 'censorship': (1) censorship of original sources, that is on the level of information storage; (2) censorship on the level of the initial encoding of that information or (3) censorship on the level of information retrieval. These three levels at which 'censorship' can take place are the three basic elements of the memory process; whether biological, technological or hybrid with the use of mnemonic technologies. Applying censorship as a means of 'forgetting' in the collective hybrid memory of the Web enables us to counter - at least partially - the functioning of the Web as a 'Panopticon over Time'.

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Forgetting Bits and Pieces:

An Exploration of the 'Right to Be Forgotten' as Implementation of 'Forgetting' in Online Memory Processes
8 April 2017, paper by P. Korenhof

Paper abstract Technology has changed and still is changing our internal and external memory processes. The World Wide Web (Web) can function as an external transactive memory and can store and provide access to personal information for a very long time. The "right to be forgotten or erasure" (R2BFE), article 17 of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation, aims at helping individuals to control the availability of online accessible personal information. This paper takes the term "forgetting" in the article's title seriously and reviews the manner in which the R2BFE implements "forgetting" into the transactive memory on the Web. Exploring the concept of forgetting in this context shows that there is a far broader scale of options to implement digital forgetting than is offered today by the R2BFE. The analysis shows where the R2BFE is insufficient and risks affecting other interests at stake more than is necessary by the application of too narrow a notion of forgetting. This paper suggests that the R2BFE could be transformed into a more successful implementation of "forgetting" in the online transactive memory if it were to draw more heavily on the mechanisms of human forgetting.


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Timing the Right to Be Forgotten

A Study into "Time" as a Factor in Deciding About Retention or Erasure of Data
8 April 2017, paper by P. Korenhof, J. Ausloos, I. Szekely, M. Ambrose, G. Sartor, and R. Leenes

Paper abstract The so-called "Right to Be Forgotten or Erasure" (RTBF), article 17 of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation, provides individuals with a means to oppose the often persistent digital memory of the Web. Because digital information technologies affect the accessibility of information over time and time plays a fundamental role in biological forgetting, 'time' is a factor that should play a pivotal role in the RTBF. This chapter explores the roles that 'time' plays and could play in decisions regarding the retention or erasure of data. Two roles are identified: (1) 'time' as the marker of a discrete moment where the grounds for retention no longer hold and 'forgetting' of the data should follow and (2) 'time' as a factor in the balance of interests, as adding or removing weight to the request to 'forget' personal information or its opposing interest. The chapter elaborates on these two roles from different perspectives and highlights the importance and underdeveloped understanding of the second role.


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