Thursday, July 31, 2014

InterWeb Alzheimer's

The European Union seems a bit scatter-brained of late. They would like you to be as well.

As we move thru the interweb age to a world where our intellect is crowd-sourced we find that the web doesn't forget as well as humans. Folks in the EU would like to fix that. Sort of. See, they don't want the interweb to forget, the just want Google to forget where things are. Alzheimer's for the interweb.

It works like this.

Suppose you are a now famous and powerful politician with an indiscretion in your distant past--something along the lines of driving your Citroen 2CV off a bridge, a nasty accident made all the more tragic because your mistress drowned in that lightweight but non-bouyant car. Should have been driving a Beetle. Anyway, this event was plastered all over Le Monde just as one might expect given that you come from a well known family who made their fortune in pastries, donuts in particular.

But that was then and this is now. Now you are a powerful member of the socialist party and have done many, many great things for your country and fellow citizens. Can't exactly remember what they are but you're pretty sure they are really important. But this interweb thing is a real problem because every time someone does an interweb search for your name the first five pages of results are about the wreck, pictures of a drenched and besotted younger you and more recently morgue photos of THAT girl, what was her name...yes, Marie Josephine (sorry, had to google it).  And you think that is just plain wrong and since you are now a powerful politician what you think counts for a lot.

What you'd like to do is not only expunge the unflattering record but rewrite it in glowing terms, but realistically you know that is not going to fly. In fact, you're all but certain you cannot have the records actually hidden away. But what you can do is make that nasty ole google-thingy forget where that stuff is located. So you trot your ass down to the EU and you push thru rules that require internet search engines to forget where things are. But only those things you don't like. While you cannot make all those things go away the interweb search engine is our window to your world and therefore you can control which things we can find to look at.

Pretty sweet, huh? Just like a donut. Warm and sticky and missing something in the middle, it is that petite je ne sais quoi that makes your life seem so much better than it ever was.