Quotation Novotny, Alexander, Spiekermann, Sarah. 2014. Oblivion on the Web: an Inquiry of User Needs and Technologies. In Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2014), Hrsg. Te’eni, D. et al., 1-15. Tel Aviv




Unlimited retention of personal information on the web may harm individuals: employers can find youthful indiscretions on social media, and incorrectly low credit scores may haunt individuals for a lifetime. Currently, Europe revives the "right to erasure" as a first step towards a forgetting web. Early technologies implementing oblivion suffer from vulnerabilities and narrowly assume that users require information to be erased after a pre-determined time. But little is known about users' actual oblivion needs. A first study shows that users desire control over disclosed personal information to reduce pre-disclosure privacy concerns, and to delete harmful information after disclosure. In the long run, users have a need for dissociating from obsolete information that represents their past identity. A second study analyses whether oblivion-enhancing technologies (OETs) currently deployed in online services satisfy users' needs. While not all services give users assurance that disclosed information can be erased again, most provide users with some active control. But to manage the increasing volume of personal information stored, users would also require "intelligent" support with oblivion. Intelligent agents that keep track of disclosed information long-term could automatically safeguard users from information relating to a past episode in life surfacing unexpectedly.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Contribution to conference proceedings
Language English
Title Oblivion on the Web: an Inquiry of User Needs and Technologies
Title of whole publication Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2014)
Editor Te’eni, D. et al.
Page from 1
Page to 15
Location Tel Aviv
Year 2014


Novotny, Alexander (Details)
Spiekermann-Hoff, Sarah (Details)
Institute for Information Systems and Society IN (Details)
Competence Center for Sustainability Transformation and Responsibility WE (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5367 Management information systems (Details)
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