Pressing ‘delete’ on your digital footprint

Pressing ‘delete’ on your digital footprint

Ever regretted posting that vicious status, risque picture, or subtly-snubbing tweet? Ever had any of those come back to bite you?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above– I know I have– you’re in luck! Californian legislature is now giving teens an option to erase their posts on specific websites, essentially allowing deletion of the past.

It sounds too good to be true! We’ve all heard the ominous warning of “everything you post on the Internet stays on the web forever”, that once anything published on that screen is permanent.

Yet, Californian lawmakers have literally given us an “erase button” to wipe out all of our Internet history.

Any individual above 18 years of age can legally clear his or her Internet history, making it inaccessible to future employers or college admission officers.

The rationalization behind this law stems from the already-existing legal right to expunge juvenile criminal records upon turning 18. Once we hit that age, we can choose to lock or erase any criminal history we may have had.

California legislators also claim that teens don’t always think about long-term effects before posting; sheepishly, I agree.

I think that this is a revolutionary law for us– the generation of E-technology– to guarantee a clean Internet slate. With the popularity of social networks rising every passing day, more and more of us are spending time posting, including bits and pieces of our personal lives.

Admittedly, while Facebook and Twitter are a great way to share information, sometimes that very information unintentionally jeopardizes our future careers or college acceptances.

The “erase button” law targets precisely these mishaps and accidents, hoping to help us delete regrettable posts and protect their futures.

Colleges and employers have long since begun looking to websites such as Facebook and Twitter more often in order to screen the backgrounds of their future students and employees.

With this new law in hand, we have the legal right to leave behind our (possibly embarassing!) Internet past.

However, I’d say that this is definitely not a green light to post as much inappropriate content before erasing it at 18– the law doesn’t state complete deletion of Internet history.

The only loophole in the “erase button” law is that it only promises erasure of content from specific websites. Meaning, if that material has been copied, saved, or reposted elsewhere, it will continue being accessible on the Internet.