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Do You Want To Have The Right To Be Forgotten Online?

Do You Want To Have The Right To Be Forgotten Online?

We all live in a changing world. As technology develops and the way we interact with one another evolves, so does the way we share information. Inevitably, this will lead to new and unforeseen problems about how we regulate the sharing of that data. New laws will need to be created, and governments will need to figure out how to decide jurisdiction in a world where the internet can instantly and invisibly transmit data across the globe.  Nowhere are these issues more apparent than in the recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on what is being called the right to be forgotten.

The Ruling

At the heart of the ruling is the question “Does a person have the right to request that certain online search results associated with their name be removed from search results?” For example, say that you wore a really embarrassing Halloween costume to a public party in 2004 and somehow photos of you at the party are now the top result when someone Googles your name. Do you have a right to request that those pictures be removed from the search results? The ECJ believes that you do.

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The events that spawned this new and growing debate began in Spain and centered around a man named Mario Costeja Gonzalez. Mr. Gonzalez wanted Google to de-index a search result associated with his name that included the details of a state auction house and a certain tax debt. Ironically, his quest for privacy became international news when he won the case and Google opposed the decision.

The Debate

On the face of it, it seems like the ECJ made the obviously correct decision. Everyone has a right to privacy and should be able to determine how their image is represented publically. Google however has raised interesting and equally valid questions about censorship and the role of governments and private companies in deciding what information the public does and does not have access to. At what point does a person’s right to privacy need to be pushed aside to reveal an accurate accounting of their behavior?

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For example, imagine that the leader of a union requests that a link to a video showing him speaking negatively about big corporations and management be removed from the search results associated with his name. He argues that the video is preventing him from winning employment, the court agrees that it infringes on his right to privacy and it is taken down. Now imagine that years later, the same person decides to run for office on a platform promoting subsidies for big business. Doesn’t the public have a right to see the video depicting the union leader’s former views?

The other important question is who has the right to determine what the public sees and what it doesn’t see? Do we want to live in a world where it is Google’s responsibility to decide what complaints are and aren’t worth honoring? Should we let every complaint that someone has about their personal search results go to court and use up the valuable resources of the justice system? At some point rules will have to be made to determine the answers to these questions, but the recent ECJ ruling leaves that door wide open.

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Food for Thought

At that point the issue becomes one of priorities. Which is more important: privacy or the availability of accurate information? Where does the line fall in terms of public figures versus private citizens? Do you have a greater right to privacy than Brad Pitt? Why? The answers to these questions are not clear and they will require a lot of discussion to reach sensible and enforceable solutions. Google has begun that conversation with a number of public hearings taking place across Europe beginning on September 9th, but it is up to each of us to remain informed and to be a part of that conversation however possible. You don’t want to end up in a new world that you had no say in forming.

Featured photo credit: IsaacMao via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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