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Authors

Robert Bolton

Abstract

In the modern era, the connection between technology and one’s personal life has increased the number of moments recorded for posterity. While in many circumstances this is an ideal opportunity for fond recollection, it has the downside of displaying for others our less flattering moments. Because the Internet has such a wide scope, once something has entered its domain, it is virtually impossible to permanently remove. With a public increasingly perceiving this winnowing of privacy as a negative tendency, legislators both at home and abroad have made proposals that attempt to place restrictions on what content social media is allowed to permanently retain. In the United States, while there may be a significant economic interest in websites assuring their users that their data will be deleted upon request, currently there is largely no federal mandate to do so. As a result, most efforts have been initiated at the state level. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of foreign approaches to data retention by private parties, compare these to American efforts to regulate a subsection within the broader concept, and ultimately outline the positive and negative prospects such a reform movement would entail.