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

Todd Davies davies at stanford.edu
Thu Jan 26 11:31:39 PST 2012


I don't think this is a crazy question, Frank. What you are asking can be 
implemented through encryption of the document, for example, that requires 
a password requiring third party validation that could expire, or the 
document could be automatically deleted if we can control where it is 
stored. As others have pointed out, it is impossible to guarantee that the 
data will not be accessible in the future, through format conversions, 
copying, printing, encryption breaking, backup drives, corrupt confidants, 
etc. But whether that is relevant depends on how many people have an 
opportunity to circumvent the expiration, as well as their ability 
(including legal ability) and motivation for doing so. A medical patient 
whose daily life is monitored might produce reams of data every day, for 
example, and the patient might want the data to "expire" after some time 
has elapsed. If these data are stored on private servers accessible only 
to a few people (patient, doctor...), and access is restricted to a 
controlled environment such as the medical providers' facility, it could 
be made very unlikely that they will leak past the expiration date. Things 
like contracts and legal regulations can come into play here. The patient 
would need to understand what type of data protection is being provided, 
but that should become a matter of common literacy. As more and more 
private data get stored (see the book *Total Recall* by Bell and Gemmell), 
and our ability to anticipate what might be useful in the future 
diminishes, I think scenarios like this will make more and more sense.

Todd

Todd Davies                   ***  email: davies at stanford.edu
Symbolic Systems Program      ***  phone: 1-650-723-4091
Stanford University           ***  fax: 1-650-723-5666
Stanford, CA, 94305-2150      ***  web: www.stanford.edu/~davies
USA                           ***  office: 460-040C

On Thu, 26 Jan 2012, Frank Corrigan wrote:

> Keeping the threat simple to say individuals personal data, that may
> have little Public interest but of concern to the individuals concerned.
> This just one scenario.
>
> I can see I need to think through the suggestions more carefully. Maybe
> the goal that could only be reached would be to frustrate access to
> someone who accesses the document after an expiry date, without ever
> seeing it before.
>
> Frank
>
>
>
> ----- Original message -----
> From: "Brian Conley" <brianc at smallworldnews.tv>
> To: "M. Fioretti" <mfioretti at nexaima.net>
> Cc: liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
> Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2012 10:52:44 -0800
> Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Auto expiring document/files & 'rights to
> be      forgotten'
>
> I've asked for the specific use-case because I think most of what has
> been
> said by others should be obvious, and I think it may not apply to what
> Frank is asking. But I guess we will see!!
>
> On Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM, M. Fioretti <mfioretti at nexaima.net>
> wrote:
>
>> 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
>> http://stop.zona-m.net/tag/saveaswwf)
>>
>> 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.
>>
>> Marco
>> --
>> Digital Rights Courses and Publications: http://mfioretti.com
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>
>
>
> -- 
>
>
>
> Brian Conley
>
> Director, Small World News
>
> http://smallworldnews.tv
>
> m: 646.285.2046
>
> Skype: brianjoelconley
>
> public key:
> http://pgp.mit.edu:11371/pks/lookup?op=get&search=0xE827FACCB139C9F0
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