A Delete button for the internet: myth or reality

NYU professor Nouriel Roubini interviews Google's Jared Cohen and Eric Schmidt (from left) during an event Monday in New York.

Jared Cohen and Eric Schmidt from Google interviewed by NYU professor Nouriel Roubini at an event in New York
Image credit: CNET

The World Wide Web can be sticky sometimes and a “delete button” could solve a lot of issues related to identity and privacy, expressed Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, at an event held in New York University, on May 6th, 2013.

Myth or reality

It is fair to ask whether this proposition is a myth or a reality when we know the below about Google.

First, in 2009, in an interview with CNBC in 2009, Eric Schmidt, said that search engines such as Google have to keep information for some time, during which time it could be made available to the US authorities under the Patriot Act.

Second, according to FastCompany, Google is known for “amassing endless troves of personal user data and tracking everything from browsing history to email to mobile usage”.

Third, Google has a reputation for being “privacy unfriendly” and various lawsuit prove this from Google Books to hypothetically Google Glass.

Reality or Myth

While those are true facts that may cast doubt on the Google’s call for a “delete button”, one recent survey said that “God is less trusted than Google” wrote the FT. Hence, Google is a brand that people highly trust and respect.

Google’s idea to push for a “delete button” aims to stop “your virtual life” being a barrier for your “real life’s” growth and achievements. Eric Schmidt, argued that a young person who committed a crime that could have the crime expunged from his record when he’s an adult. But information about that crime could remain online, preventing the person from finding a job.

People evolve continuously in the real life and what remains on the internet about them can block their true potential. If what is on the internet is not up to date with who they currently are in their daily life, that could create personality issues.

Myth or reality? The question remains unanswered! However, the idea of “a delete button” is relevant and it can enable a lot of people to unlock their full potential and start their “virtual life” with a clean slate. And you, if this “delete button” was real, would you push it?

Catch up on the interview on the below link:

A Conversation with Google’s Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen; Moderated by Prof. Nouriel Roubini

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