Yesterday, Jill Van Matre and I presented at SXSW Interactive under the title “The Right to be Forgotten: Forgiveness or Censorship?” The format is what SXSW calls a core conversation – needless to say we had no idea what was expected of us. With about 40 or 50 people in the room, we managed to have a rich conversation about the subject with most (perhaps all) of the stakeholders represented in the room: lawyers, developers, bloggers, journalists, historians (yes!) – all who are users with a past. We (via the wonderful audience) covered every facet of the debate including costs of data management regulations, identity and reputation, public vs private figures, reinvention and second chances, free speech, historical records, persistence of online content, cultural variation, and, of course, scandal. An attorney from Texas described her state as “culturally punitive,” which has inspired me to sketch the outline of an article titled “If Texas Ran the Internet.” Thanks to all that came and participated – I had a wonderful time and hope you did as well.

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