not my idea; i got it from The Quantum Thief, a sci-fi book. In the book, all digital devices in a certain polity ("Mars"), including all human minds (which are cybernetically augmented) are bound to respect certain privacy settings. You can insist that:

In the book, there is an 'analog hole' for the anti-sharing provisions that is utilized by ethically deficient (in the opinion of people in the book) professionals such as some journalists. In the book, this is implemented by 'cryptography', e.g. probably something like trusted computing.

A real-life analog of some of this is Snapchat.

The people at have worked on some real-life analogs of this:

" One product that experimented with was a Web browser extension that encrypts everything you put on Facebook. To see photos or status updates, friends needed a special key to decode the encryption. No data ever reached Facebook’s servers. The product also allowed customers to set finite life spans on their updates. “You could say, ‘Everything I post blows up after 20 minutes’ or on Jan. 1 or on graduation day,” says Fertik. “It got like a million people downloading it within a few weeks. Clearly there’s a pent-up demand.” has since discontinued the product, says Fertik, to concentrate its resources on more lucrative services. Now, he says, the company is focused on collecting large archives of data about consumers’ habits online and allowing individuals to control how that data gets sold. “We are collecting data and then enabling our customers to expose the data, electively to third parties, in an open and transparent transaction of which they are completely aware,” Fertik says, “as opposed to being digitally exploited every day without your knowledge or permission by people you can’t identify for purposes you’ll never know. It’s like digital serfdom vs. digital liberty.” "

There is some support for similar laws:

" In a 2010 survey, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that although young Americans are often portrayed as having a devil-may-care attitude toward social media, they’re as anxious as their parents about their permanent social records. Some 88 percent of participants from ages 18 to 24 responded that there should be a law requiring websites and advertising companies to delete all stored information about an individual upon request. The survey found that 94 percent of people from 45 to 54 also supported the idea. "

Mayer-Schönberger has written about similar ideas:

" In Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, a lawyer and a professor at the University of Oxford, argues that this inevitably creates problems for individuals and societies that need the ability to forget in order to move forward. A perfect memory, he writes, can be paralyzing, trapping people in the past and discouraging them from trying new challenges.

Mayer-Schönberger argues that all information created online should come with customizable expiration dates. Not every piece of data would have to expire after a few seconds as photos on Snapchat do. The key, says Mayer-Schönberger, is to include some form of a self-destruct button in everything created online and to give consumers the power to tinker with the settings from the outset. "

See also