Truth and the information society.
On May 14th the New York Times ran a story on a ruling by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to grant users the right to remove links about themselves. This case was prompted by a Spanish lawyer who wanted past records of his misconduct removed from search results. The “so-called right to be forgotten, or erasure” ruling poses some difficult outcomes and has some far reaching implications in terms of privacy, rights to knowledge and the miss-representation of our identities. While writing “from code to cortex to cognition” I went back to the link to check the reference but I was unable to find the original document. The link lead me to a different article where the content, title and authors had been changed. It seems content on the internet is forever changeable and it raises questions around the validity and authenticity of information and exposes some wider concerns around issues of confidence and trust.
What we leave behind is just as important as what we engage with in the present. The digital sphere forgets nothing, traditionally our sources of information were printed with ink, on machines made of steel and iron on substrates made from trees and organic matter, “the essence of objects”. The fragility of all those elements in synchronicity expressing the ideas and thoughts of humanity are vulnerable. The information society is vulnerable too, but to a different type of fragility, of being forgotten or being wiped away by the elements of nature, rather we are vulnerable not only to the dissemination of data, but also to how it is used and who controls these flows.