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[liberationtech] Auto expiring document/files & 'rights to be forgotten'

M. Fioretti mfioretti at
Thu Jan 26 10:44:57 PST 2012

On Thu, Jan 26, 2012 16:08:15 PM +0000, Frank Corrigan wrote:
> Does anyone know of any free resource that can make a PDF document, for
> instance, inaccessible after a certain data, Most Digital Rights
> Management (DRM) software prices are too prohibitive to make them a
> practical solution to individuals.

I think the request is simply impossible to satisfy at any price, both
for technical reasons, and for reasons of other kinds not mentioned
yet here.

The technical reasons, already mentioned, all come down to the fact
that the only way to do what you want is to have full, absolute
control on ALL the computers that may ever receive the document, in
order to reduce them to dumb internet kiosks or Web-TVs. Otherwise it
would be trivial to roll back the clock, or **automatically** take
snapshots and feed them to an OCR program, etc.. And people would race
to do it and break the format, just as it happened with the
"green-because-unprintable" WWF format (which I covered at

Then there is the fact that, at least for certain classes of
documents, PDF is wrong to begin with, and there is an active movement
to get rid of it, at least as the only format in which documents are
published online. I am talking of public sector information, and of
the Open Data movement that is pushing worldwide to have all those
data (also) in raw, machine readable, open formats available online.

Which means that, if it became ever possible to make such a PDF, it
would be irrelevant for those data, because people would simply make
their copies of the same data in those other formats.

Digital Rights Courses and Publications:

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