Archive for the ‘Document Retention’ Category

The Semantic Web & the Right to be Forgotten (there is a business case – read on)

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

The Semantic Web & the Right to be Forgotten by Angela Guess.

From the post:

Dr. Kieron O’Hara has examined how the semantic web might be used to implement a so-called ‘right to be forgotten.’ O’Hara writes, “During the revision of the EU’s data protection directive, attention has focused on a ‘right to be forgotten’. Though the discussion has been largely confined to the legal profession, and has been overlooked by technologists, it does raise technical issues – UK minister Ed Vaizey, and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office have pointed out that rights are only meaningful when they can be enforced and implemented (Out-law.com 2011, ICO 2011). In this article, I look at how such a right might be interpreted and whether it could be enforced using the specific technology of the Semantic Web or the Linked Data Web.”

O’Hara continues, “Currently, the Semantic Web and the Linked Data Web approach access control via licences and waivers. In many cases, those who wish to gain the benefits of linking are keen for their data to be used and linked, and so are happy to invite access. Copyrightable content can be governed by Creative Commons licences, requiring the addition of a single RDF triple to the metadata. With other types of data, controllers use waivers, and for that purpose a waiver vocabulary, http://vocab.org/waiver/terms/.html, has been created.”

The case Dr. O’Hara is concerned with is:

the right of individuals to have their data no longer processed and deleted when they are no longer needed for legitimate purposes. This is the case, for example, when processing is based on the person’s consent and when he or she withdraws consent or when the storage period has expired.

As you would expect, the EU completely overlooks the business case for forgetting, it’s called document retention. Major corporations have established policies for how long materials have to be retained and procedures to be followed for their destruction.

Transpose that into a topic maps or semantic web context where you have links into those materials. Perhaps links that you don’t control.

So, what is your policy about “forgetting” by erasure of links to documents that no longer exist?

Or do you have a policy about the creation of links to documents? And if so, how do you track them? Or even monitor the enforcement of the policy?

It occurs to me that if you used enterprise search software, you could create topics that represent documents that are being linked to by other documents. Topics that could carry the same destruction date information as your other information systems.

Interesting uses suggest themselves. Upon destruction of some documents you could visualize if odd or inconvenient holes in the document record are going to be created by a widely linked record’s destruction.

Depending on the skill of your indexing and document recognition, you could even uncover non-hyperlink references between documents. And perform the same analysis.

Or, you could wait until some enterprising lawyer who isn’t representing your interest decides to perform the same analysis.

Your call.