Our society loves information. We spend our lives seeking out “the truth”, and even as a species it’s our nature to be curious of the unknown. It’s one of the main reasons why the internet has become one of the most important tools of communication to date. The web has changed our world and the way we see it, and Google has been one of its biggest contributors. This is why it is surprising to learn Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt would like to see a “delete button” for the internet.
If that sounds nuts it’s because it is. The internet has become a symbol of our rights. It’s the epitome of freedom, which comes with a price. Giving up a bit of your privacy is definitely part of the deal, but Eric Schmidt has his reasons to believe the way he does.
Schmidt raises quite an interesting point, in fact. He gives the example of a young person committing a crime when young. This crime could later be taken off his record, but it’s nearly impossible to delete it from the internet. Said individual would have a hard time finding a job later on, due to his past information’s easy access.
Now, why do I disagree? First and foremost, granting Google, the government, or any other entity such power could easily lead to something much harsher than a former criminal not being able to find a job. We would be handing the internet to them, which means they would be able to fully regulate what goes and doesn’t go online.
Before you call me a conspiracy theorist I would like to remind you this possibility is not out of the question. In fact, the internet is censored in many countries across the world, something most happen to dislike. Creating this “delete button” could constitute as a violation to our freedom of expression.
Now let’s try to step into the moral side of this story without creating a war in the comments. There are definitely instances in which, ideally, it would be nice to make some exceptions. Trust me, I would love to see someone turn his/her life around and get that awesome job. I would also love to get rid of some of those college photos while we are at it – wouldn’t like my kids seeing those! Would I give up the nature of the internet for it, though? No.
Every action has its consequences, so why should the internet be an exception to this rule? Your reputation will precede you, the only difference is that now your information is more readily available. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you have to try a bit harder to hit home run. Let’s not give up our freedom of expression just to make it easier to hide the past.
I will end my rant by telling Mr. Eric Schmidt that I respect him and love his work, but I feel like this “delete button” would be a bad idea. I feel like there is a dozen downsides for every benefit that would come with it.
Please let me know if you guys agree or disagree with me. Am I worrying too much?