In a Technological World, What does it Take to be Forgotten?
Linda Sharp, Associate General Counsel, ZL Technologies Inc, USA
On a recent vacation, while riding my dirt bike in the beautiful Colorado Desert of California, I came across an area near the Salton Sea known as “Slab City.” This former WWII US Marine training base -- previously called Camp Dunlap -- was built in 1942 and dismantled in 1956. Today it is home to many that reside in makeshift homes made from boxes and plywood, broken down vans and motorhomes and those “snow birds” that enjoy the free rent. Many of these individuals have chosen to live off the grid, with no water, electricity, trash collection, or sewer systems. They have chosen to be “forgotten,” to be left alone.
However, being alone does not equate to being unknown. Even those that have made the decision to shun most technological luxuries have left a trail of digital bread crumbs in their wake. Even these individuals, many of whom have made the decision to fly under society’s radar, are anything but forgotten in this technological world. They may receive disability and/or social security benefits, may have vehicles that were registered at some point in time, may have joined the military, committed a criminal infraction, or any number of other events that are being tracked across computer systems by government and industry. As we look at the evolution of technology and the proliferation of information that is collected from us, how can anyone ever be forgotten?
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