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back to article Regretful selfie-snapping vixens, lads to get shame-hiding digital burqas

California's children will get the legal right to order their embarrassing digital past to be hidden from public view. But the new laws won't end in total deletion of unwanted content – just that it be placed behind a digital veil. Starting from 2015, any minor will have the right to ask internet companies to destroy …

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Pointless

What a waste of time.

Any company with photos of someone will probably remove them if asked. The problems occur when someone's peers have downloaded their own copies. It's annoying that people in positions of power still fall for that tired old Hollywood misconception that there is only have 1 copy of anything digital.

Anything you do in public is exactly that - public. If you don't want people to know about it then do it in private and don't take photos.

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Re: Pointless

Anything you do in public is exactly that - public. If you don't want people to know about it then do it in private and don't take photos.

Did you not read the article? The problem is other people taking pictures of you and posting them. If I do I something in private, I have an expectation of privacy. And while there may be a legal right to get a picture withdrawn, it's not straightforward or cheap to do so.

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Re: Pointless

I did read the article. Did you not read the comment?

If you do something in public - people can see and photograph you and the Internet has nothing to do with it.

If you are ashamed of your behavior and don't want it photographed maybe you should just not behave that way in public?

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Re: Pointless

"If you are ashamed of your behavior and don't want it photographed maybe you should just not behave that way in public?"

Ah, right. If you're not doing anything wrong, you don't need to worry about who's watching you, eh?

There are things that people can do in public here in the US that are not shameful but that employers can definitely get upset about. We live in a wannabe theocracy where corporations are considered people, remember?

Obligatory XKCD: http://xkcd.com/137/

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Re: Pointless

Of course you need to know who's watching you. The part of the problem that has gone unsaid is that people don't know when they are in public. Here's a hint, the internet is public regardless of [insert social site here]'s Privacy Policy. If a simple hack can let someone post to the Zuckster's wall, it pretty much means there is no privacy regardless of a person's misguided expectations. If you're really worried about your dope buddy posting pics of you toking on up then maybe he isn't really your buddy and you should keep your stash zip-locked in the toilet tank when he comes over.

Yes, you can be fired for 'liking' the wrong thing, regardless of what some folks say, just as you can be fired because your employer doesn't like the phone you use, unless you have a government job of course. Then again, you can always quit or boycott a company because you don't like the phone the boss uses but it is helpful to line up another job or supplier first.

Oh, there's nothing wannabe about the theocracy. All that really matters to many folks is whether you pray donate to the blue alter or the red one even though it's actually just one alter to authoritarianism painted different colors on opposite sides. Members of each will try to cajole you into joining their side and the more evangelical ones will shout, berate and attempt to guilt you into converting lest the evil side wins. Companies only try to buy influence with the candidate priests of the altars but you're free to boycott both the companies and the priests.

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Re: Pointless

Often much harder than you may think.

An aquaintence had a pic of his car & wife that was used, with permission, for advertising by a company. A 3rd party liked it & posted it as his banner pic on Facebook. It took about a week of constant badgering to get it taken down after the 3rd party was arrested for the kidnapping & accidental death of a teenage girl...

He was getting calls from people of the "Do you know this guy?", "Is your wife ok?" type until it was removed.

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"Even if you make sure not to post photos of yourself, you can't stop your friends from doing so. If you use drugs and there are pictures of you doing that and you apply for a job, you won't get hired."

I really don't understand why people still have such a problem understanding this concept. Internetz be public unless you KNOW only you can see it or better still don't put it on the bleeding thing.

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@Sparx

We're talking about kids here, not known for their common sense, especially hormonal teenagers. When you stop being one and have them, you'll understand this.

As for being a workable solution, no it's a joke, made by someone who doesn't have a clue about the internet.

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Re: @Sparx

@AC 08.29

Well done on failing the Ed Byrne test (see here for info).

We agree it's crap, but you're also underestimating kids here somewhat- when my friends and I first got internet access via crappy modems 15+ years ago we figured out pretty damn fast that some stuff was in fact public and that therefore being stupid might have repercussions. And that was just being a dick in chatrooms or on message boards.

Education is the key to solving this (possibly using some pointed but ultimately painless examples to drive the point home), for parents as much as children, and a greater degree of Damn Good Kickings for every moron who tries to pull the "I don't understand, it's the technology's fault, how was I meant to know that giving my five-year-old a device with full internet access and integrated cameras/microphones that they could use unsupervised might have bad results" defence.

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Re: @Sparx

Perhaps the most important lesson is not to absorb substances which impair judgement. I find it astounding that so many people think drinking is trivial. It is common, but it isn't trivial.

I see no particular reason not to favour those who learnt this early on. It's either a parenting failure or a child's failure. In the real world we can't shield children from their own or their parents failures.

A stupid mistake it may be. That is why it is called a stupid mistake. It has consequences.

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Anonymous Coward

What a retarded world I live in

"This means kids will be offered a safety net in case they accidentally (or willingly) share images of themselves to the world, but may not be able to take down the photos if they uploaded by other people."

So the whole excercise is pointless and costly waste of time then!

Stupidity is alive and well in every country.

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" If you use drugs and there are pictures of you doing that and you apply for a job, you won't get hired."

America!

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Word

Yeah, what about the right of American employers to avoid hiring drug users? At least the kids are spared the embarrassment having to provide a urine sample to test, if the pics are still available online.

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Re: What about the right of American employers to avoid hiring drug users?

What right?

Isn't it Unamerican to repress the freedom of other people? What people do on their own time is none of an employers business.

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Childcatcher

Re: What about the right of American employers to avoid hiring drug users?

What people do on their own time is none of an employers business.

While my gut agrees with you in that people ought to mind their own [expletive deleted] business, there is plenty of counter-examples in case law. At the very least, this seems to be an issue of freedom of association running up against the freedom of expression. You can say whatever you want, but I do not have to employ you if I do not like what I hear. All rights have bounds.

To the broader issue of using the internet as part of the screening process for hiring new employees, most companies who do this do not have their personnel departments running online checks. They are circumventing people whose job it is, who have trained for, making useful determinations of suitability for hiring purposes and cutting off many otherwise competent individuals. In a tight job market, they may be able to get away with this, but this is sure to harm their companies in the long run.

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Re: What about the right of American employers to avoid hiring drug users?

"Isn't it Unamerican to repress the freedom of other people? What people do on their own time is none of an employers business."

That's a relief. I was always worried that if I ever decided to move to America, the fact that I'm a homicidal maniac with cannibalistic tendencies would count against me when I tried to find work over there.

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Re: What about the right of American employers to avoid hiring drug users?

> Isn't it Unamerican to repress the freedom of other people? What people do on their own time is none of an employers business.

+1 for irony

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Anonymous Coward

Society vs Individual

Once again this raises the problem we have in balancing the rights of the individual against the wider interests of society.

As an employer, you may feel it useful to know something about the person you are considering hiring. Since CVs/resumes are pretty pointless (showing primarily how good people are are writing about themselves rather than anything else), and references from past employers have been rendered pointless by the threat of legal action if anything bad is said, so a trawl through the Internet is one of the last sources of background information.

So whilst I have some sympathy with the current generation of naive youngsters, in general I feel their parents should steer them away from drugs and depravity in the first place, and those youngsters should then be rewarded with finding it easier to get a decent career.

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Joke

Re: Society vs Individual

I've been calling all my children John or Jane Smith. I figure this is the best gift I can give them. They can always change their name later. (And the surname "Grinder" really isn't an asset in this world.)

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Why should an individual's private life influence whether or not an employer should hire them?

If they turn up for the interview, some out of their minds, then you'd be right to send them packing, but if they gave a great interview, and demonstrated all the required skills, why should a Facebook picture of them smoking a joint (or whatever) be the deciding factor?

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Holmes

Re: Why should an individual's private life influence whether or not an employer should hire them?

It depends on whether they were legally allowed to smoke a joint when the picture was taken. If they weren't, then you can rightfully expect them to break any other law, or company policy, that they want to...only as their employer, it may be your responsibility rather than theirs.

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Oz
WTF?

Re: Why should an individual's private life influence whether or not an employer should hire them?

Yes, you're right - I'm going to murder everyone in the office and steal all their stuff, then burn the building down. Just because I broke the law. Did you exceed the speed limit into work today? Yes? Oops! /sarcasm

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Re: Why should an individual's private life influence whether or not an employer should hire them?

"It depends on whether they were legally allowed to smoke a joint when the picture was taken. If they weren't, then you can rightfully expect them to break any other law..."

...because if you've broken one law you'll break any?

Ever get a speeding ticket? I hear speeding is a gateway to embezzlement, murder, larceny, mugging, and Sabbath-breaking.

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Re: Why should an individual's private life influence whether or not an employer should hire them?

"I'm going to murder everyone in the office and steal all their stuff, then burn the building down. Just because I broke the law."

No, just because it certainly looks like you do enjoy your drug of choice while disregarding the rules and you might light up or down a fifth of JD on your lunch break then go back to work on a milling machine or fork lift and wind up maiming or killing yourself or a coworker. I know, you'd never do that on your lunch break only on your time after work and it doesn't count if you show up still pissed from last nights binge the next day. Besides three finger Charlie won't mind, will he?

Come to think of it when I was in high school working one summer as a delivery driver there were several people who got fired over speeding tickets. Good thing they did or I might never have had a job that year.

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@Eddy Ito

Wow, you've certainly read a lot into one photo of the applicant smoking a joint, the context of which you are almost certainly unaware.

I spotted some kids loitering in the park, last night. Granted, none of them were over the age of 9, but loitering is just the sort of behaviour that I'd associate with undesireables, so we might as well lock them all up and throw away the key.

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Re: @Eddy Ito

Lamont, in business there are these things called liability and risk. I don't have to read anything into the photo but it would only be prudent for me to avoid an unnecessary risk. Given two nearly identical candidates with the only difference being photos of each candidate, one jogging on the beach and the other downing a bottle of rum with a spliff in hand. Even if the jogger didn't do quite as well in the interview, the pic could easily be the deciding factor. Hell, given current health care costs employers are quietly screening out smokers and the obese what makes you think they aren't screening out other people. Besides, in a competitive market, it's a little foolish to think that you and your snaps aren't competing with the healthy jogger on the beach.

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"California's children"

If this is a state law, does it only apply to ISPs with servers in California, or to ISPs who offer services to California, or to anyone on the WWW who has users in California, or...

As always with well-meanng internet laws, the proposers have so little clue how the internet works that the laws are generally unworkable and unusable. This one doesn't look to be much different. Kids who want to be wilfully stupid will still find a way to do so, no matter how much they may regret it later.

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Re: "California's children"

It's no really about ISPs, so much as websites and such.

But that's a good question. They did specifically state it applied to California children only, but made no similar clarification on the definition of "Operator", which makes it sound like they do intend it to be extraterritorial. Exactly how they intend to enforce that, especially outside the country, I have no idea.

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FAIL

Looks like US lawmakers are as clueless as UK ones ...

I can see a rainmaker case over the definition of "registered user" ... there are a few sites where you can upload content without "registering".

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Anonymous Coward

Alicia Cabral, 17, said:

As a youth, you make a bunch of mistakes. If you put it on the Internet, it follows you everywhere.

The bad news Alicia is that most adults are nasty pieces of scum who will ensure that any mistake you make as an adult will follow you everywhere.

and the new laws won't scare the trolls away.

But that's OK, you can deal with them in an appropriately nasty personal way whenever it suits you.

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Paris Hilton

Let me guess

Claire Perry was in California lately?

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Its done all the time

I started a new job a few years ago, At the beginning of the month I had been unsuccessful at getting tickets for Glastonbury festival, I had mentioned this on facebook and a lot of people I was going to go with had gotten tickets so there was quite a large number of posts about it.

A week later I was then offered the Job and I accepted.

A few days after that I was contacted by one of my friends who said they had in fact been able to get me a ticket, there had been a mix up and they had only just noticed.

When I started the job I was asked if I wanted any holiday booked and I mentioned the 5 days off I would need to go to the festival the following July.

My new boss then asked “Oh, I thought you didn’t get a ticket”

I then replied something along the lines of “ Oh yeah I didn’t think I did, but then my friend… wait, how did you know about that?”

Cue embarrassed look from my boss and curious ones from the rest of the team, luckily for him I’m a nice person and said “Oh, yeah I mentioned it in my interview, sorry I forgot”. He thanked me afterwards and apologised for “spying on me”.

Luckily I reviewed my facebook history and removed any items that may have caused embarrassment beforehand, and it is something I warn everyone about, you never know when a 5 year old picture of you doing something you have completely forgotten about will stop you getting a job, and they won’t tell you it’s because you had a dodgy picture on facebook.

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Anonymous Coward

@Maharg

Funny, I was in a similar situation recently. I was chatting to my boss, and suddenly had a panic about him reading something he shouldn't on my social networking page.

Then I remembered I don't have a social networking page, and relaxed. Permanently.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Its done all the time

Luckily I reviewed my facebook history and removed any items that may have caused embarrassment beforehand, and it is something I warn everyone about, you never know when a 5 year old picture of you doing something you have completely forgotten about will stop you getting a job, and they won’t tell you it’s because you had a dodgy picture on facebook.

Gather its standard practice by HR/recruiters to check social media profiles ... think the saying is "use Linked in to decide who you want to hire and Facebook to decide who you don't"

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Re: @Maharg

Then I remembered I don't have a social networking page, and relaxed. Permanently

I don't have a Facebook profile and have no intention of acquiring one ... however, rather worringly, I have heard that if someone is checking someone's social media profiles (i.e. HR or recruiters) then if they can't find your facebook account then they can assume that you have one with a pseudonym because you have stuff that you want to hide.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Maharg

I think a lot depends on set and setting. Why on earth would a 47 year old who's worked their way up the ranks of middle management have any use for a FB profile ?

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Re: @Maharg

Well that’s nice for you. You must be very proud. Congratulations, you are a better person then I am and the millions of others who use social networking to, you know, be social, and keep in touch with family and friends who live in different areas and even different countries. I guess if you want to keep in touch with family and friends on the other side of the world you write a message using a quill and have it sent using the fastest ship in the Queens navy.

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Re: @Maharg

Funny, I was in a similar situation recently. I remembered we dumped poison into the water supply and had a sudden panic. Then I remembered I only drink bottled water, and relaxed. While those of my friends who didn't became perpetually relaxed. Permanently.

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As others have said, the new law doesn't really do anything as you can always take down your own content.

I don’t think you should be allowed to take down other people's content because it embarrasses you since one person embarrassment could be another persons achievement. For example if I get totally annihilated by you in a competition then I would find this embarrassing, whereas for you it is an achievement. It isn't just competitions either, I might have a party that, for me, and nearly everybody else there, holds some wonderful memories but for you is an embarrassment because of your behaviour. Should everybody else be denied those memories because of you?

As long as the content of somebodies web pages is legal, no third party should be able to force them to take it down no matter how embarrassing it is to you.

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How do you get the NSA's copy of the photo off the NSA's servers?

Also web archive web sites.

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What a waste of time. It would serve humankind better if these people simply learned to shed their ego - either early-on so they don't post the photo for egoistic reasons, or later so that they don't care thus they altruistically titillate others.

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So you're now allowed to ask them take down your own content

But not stuff put up by other people, or presumably hosted anywhere outside California where these laws have no effect. Waste of time.

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Facepalm

As useful and as relevant as..

a fig leaf.

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Coat

Re: As useful and as relevant as a fig leaf

It's a matter of timing. A fig leaf after the event is not nearly as good as a fig leaf when you need it.

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How do they enforce this against companies with no presence in California?

Granted, California has most of the big ones in the US, but let's say Texas tried to pass this law. How could they make Facebook, a company based in California with no presence (as far as I know) in Texas, comply with their state law?

This is stupid, you can't make state law apply to a multinational company, and if this got to be too much of a pain in the ass for companies to deal with hundreds of thousands of such requests from everyone who wants to erase all their digital history after they graduate college and start applying for jobs, new startups might decide to set up shop elsewhere than Silicon Valley.

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Re: How do they enforce this against companies with no presence in California?

They just go one step beyond a stateful firewall - a statewide firewall. One for each state.

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So I was trying to think if there's any situation at all where this could be useful. It has to A) have registered users, and B) not normally allow deleting content. This is really a fairly rare combination. About all I could come up with would be a some web-based discussion forums, but even most of those do allow editing and/or deleting posts. I guess there will be weirder random things like product reviews (which might be embarrassing depending on what you reviewed) but this really looks like a law that was designed to look like it was doing something without actually going something.

In fact, perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that it seems they actually did consult with someone who knew how the internet works, because they very carefully created exceptions for situations where enforcing this would be impractical and/or unreasonable. It just happens that this encompasses practically every situation where you can't already delete things.

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"...firms will not have to remove content ... reposted by other people..."

And for all that people have picked up on the impossibility of imposing this on non-Californian companies, no-one noticed the fact that since this is the Internet, and since the Streisand Effect works at full force on such, any "embarrassing" pictures will be *reposted* within seconds and thus make this law null-and-void.

You wouldn't let a mechanic work on your car without them having learnt something about cars, but politicians seem to think they can pass laws on things they do not understand.

<sigh>

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ISP's claim they're forced to retain

Child pronography.

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