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Future privacy rules and quotes

Weppa333

Active member
#1
Hopefully Mike will give his opinion on this topic,

I may sound paranoid, but on my communities, I have more and more requests to remove past content. In a few months, EEC is gonna pas "right to be forgotten" (not sure of the english words) laws that will basically force us, forum owners, to comply with requests asking to remove each and every little message someone posted in the past X years.

This is were it's getting tricky ; INCLUDING QUOTES. Of course the law does not speak about quotes, but it is, per se, user content protected by these laws. A quote is in fact an unauthorized copy (and this, since day one).

I believe that "forums from the future" should limit the way people quote each other, and especially the "quote "button should create "soft quotes" (links to the quoted content, maybe ajax loaded) that would get blanked out when an user asks to leave the forum and have his content removed.

I understand this is a long shot to some people, but I'm sure requests like this will be common in a few years. May be time to start "re thinking quotes" soon.
 

Andrej

Well-known member
#2
Well, they can't really force forum owners outside EU to comply with that law. The law itself sounds absolutely absurd (well as much as the other laws in EU).
 

Weppa333

Active member
#5
Well, I'm a specialist of intellectual property in my country, but as english is not my native language, it is likely my message sounds dumber than it should.;) Also, this is more a privacy law issue than intellectual property, but I have a good grasp of what's coming. I have absolutely no knowledge of laws outside EU.

I can assure you that a "quote" is indeed a problem even with current laws ; starting with a few lines of text, you are supposed to comply with any request from a user to have "all of his content" removed. You could, to some extend, slow down that kind of boring request by asking the user a complete list of what he wants to be removed. (At least a direct link to each and every quote.)
But we won't be playing this game much longer.
It's obvious people don't usually shoot lawyers at each other for forum chit-chat, but these days are gone were I live. :(

Anyway, just wanted to start a think-thank,
The "right to forget" (doit a l'oubli in french) laws are not ready yet BUT they will be in a matter of weeks.
They will need to be implemented in local laws (could take extra months)

But this is the direction we're heading to.
In a few years," remove everything I wrote on your forum NOW" will need to be handled quickly and easily by forum owners.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#8
I can assure you that a "quote" is indeed a problem even with current laws ; starting with a few lines of text, you are supposed to comply with any request from a user to have "all of his content" removed.
Not in the UK.
 

RobParker

Well-known member
#9
What constitutes "personal data"? I assume the definition is not every single thing I've ever written online as the OP suggests.
 

Slavik

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#10
Not an issue, theres a sub section the right to be forgotten is restricted by
to exercise freedom of expression, for public interest in public health, for historical, statistical and scientific research purposes, for legal reasons for other purposes, including where the use of the data is restricted to verifying the accuracy of disputed data and proof purposes.
The key one being the first, to exercise freedom of expression. This should mean forum owners are exempt from having to remove the users content.

But your concerns are not just your own, the uk Department of Justice has seen the technical issues, theres a lot of talk that the DOJ will ignore this EU law in the UK on the grounds that it is un-enforceable.
 

CyclingTribe

Well-known member
#11
I imagine this would specifically apply to personally identifiable information - data that can be attributed to the real-life name and identity of a person.

I assume that usernames (that anonymise the personal identity of an individual) would be excluded; and ergo any content posted under that anonymous pseudonym.
 

Adam Howard

Well-known member
#12
Disclaimer: I am NOT a legal advisor, counsel, officer of the court, associated with any government branch of justice, or any member of council or an organization authorized to provide any legal aid, services, or advise.


With this said, I have consulted a legal expert, but please be aware that this is only a preliminary first glance comment and should not in any way, shape or form be seen as a standing judgement or legal advise of any kind and my "interpretation" of what I was told, could be incorrectly interpreted.

But from my little understanding and if I comprehend correctly, this law will not apply to forums in the way you think.

But rather the only personal information which could be considered personal would be the e-mail address, ip address, and user name if the individual used their real name as opposed to escaping anonymity from using a screen name.

I guess an add-on that would allow someone to delete their account and when doing so, renamed them as "guest" would take care of the name and e-mail issue. The IP issue I guess could be taken care of by purging your IP logs accordingly.

So more of this can be done automatically by a few add-ons and I would imagine wouldn't be hard to apply in the core. :)

The only exceptions would be 2 rarities.....

In unusual circumstances for forums and I say, unusually, because I don't know to many people who would publicly post it on an open forum, but it would also cover any contents such as
  • personal photos of yourself, if you posted any
  • name, address, phone number
In those 2 rare exceptions, you would have to hunt down such content and remove or edit it out.
 

Luxus

Well-known member
#14
In Germany there is no such law either. We have a term called "Schöpfungshöhe" that roughly translates to "content depht". It defines whether created content has enough "depht" to be copyrighted. For example most posts in a forum don't reach the mentioned depth by far and therefore can't be copyrighted. However long tutorials and such have enough "depth" and therefore the creator of those tutorials can force the admin by law to remove his tutorials.
 

Adam Howard

Well-known member
#15
I thought the exclusions would exclude IP addresses as those logs might be considered vital for the operation of the site.
From my limited understanding.....

Europe laws vary. There are individual governing laws of each country, but there are some common laws within the European Union. I use that term very loosely.

But one thing is for sure, they do take privacy on a different level.

For most people I know, an IP address is basically seen as a "throw away" number. Easily changeable and generated at random.

But for Europe, they're kind of seen as identification numbers or in some ways as phone numbers (again, paraphrasing here).
 

CyclingTribe

Well-known member
#16
In Germany there is no such law either. We have a term called "Schöpfungshöhe" that roughly translates to "content depht". It defines whether created content has enough "depht" to be copyrighted. For example most posts in a forum don't reach the mentioned depth by far and therefore can't be copyrighted. However long tutorials and such have enough "depth" and therefore the creator of those tutorials can force the admin by law to remove his tutorials.
I like the sound of that - put some effort in and you get to "own" it - casual throw-away stuff, no chance!!! :)
 

MattW

Well-known member
#17
In unusual circumstances for forums and I say, unusually, because I don't know to many people who would publicly post it on an open forum, but it would also cover any contents such as
  • personal photos of yourself, if you posted any
  • name, address, phone number
In those 2 rare exceptions, you would have to hunt down such content and remove or edit it out.
Just thinking out loud. How would that work then for the search engines that have indexed your site, and would more than likely have a cached version on the data on their end?
 

RobParker

Well-known member
#18
From my limited understanding.....

Europe laws vary. There are individual governing laws of each country, but there are some common laws within the European Union. I use that term very loosely.

But one thing is for sure, they do take privacy on a different level.

For most people I know, an IP address is basically seen as a "throw away" number. Easily changeable and generated at random.

But for Europe, they're kind of seen as identification numbers or in some ways as phone numbers (again, paraphrasing here).
That's irrelevant though isn't it? The legislation seems to exclude anything vital to operations so I don't see how they're going to make you purge IP logs.
 

Adam Howard

Well-known member
#19
Just thinking out loud. How would that work then for the search engines that have indexed your site, and would more than likely have a cached version on the data on their end?
That's a good question. My answer is, I don't exactly know.

If I had to guess & this is only a guess (theory), you could ask the search provider, Google for example, to un-cache select pages & re-cache them to the newest version.

http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1663691

Google currently offers this.
 

Luxus

Well-known member
#20
But for Europe, they're kind of seen as identification numbers or in some ways as phone numbers (again, paraphrasing here).
That would be the case if everyone has a fixed IP. I'm not sure if americans are the one's that have more fixed IPs than europeans. A dude of mine got recently banned from an IRC channel and people were wondering why he kept coming back until his provider was banned from the IRC.