Peter Fleischer muses about why Europeans seem so focused on length of data retention rather than on what he sees as more important measures of privacy protection:
….. Curiously, the time dimension of data retention is almost entirely a Continental European privacy concern. It rarely registers as a meaningful vector in other countries, even in countries with very intense privacy debates. Of course, the euro-time-period debate is also intimately tied up with the debate about the so-called “right to be forgotten”, the “droit a l’oubli”, a well-intentioned idea that people should somehow be able to have parts of their own past (presumably the disagreeable parts) edited out of their personal histories. And, not coincidentally, this debate is most intense in countries with historical chapters that many people consciously or unconsciously want to forget: like Spanish society’s conflict between remembering or forgetting the crimes of the Franco era.
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