I wrote a personal essay on federated social web meets the rogue archivists, the nuance and power of forgetting, and building social software around consent and archival resistance.

@wilkie i'd like to know your opinion on the following:

- archiving and publishing personal letters of dead people (e.g. authors, philosophers, politicians, etc.)
- delayed release of archives, e.g. waiting until death / some arbitrary time window has passed before publishing an archive

more specifically responding to the article:
- i do think that ephemeral posting as an option would certainly help to communicate consent/intent
- i generally disagree with your conclusion on "need to keep"...

@wilkie ...maybe not specifically for berries, but for dead/dying fediverse sites, yes, there is value in being able to study what happened. i would even go so far as to say that the real reason the berries archive wasn't ok has nothing to do with lack of value or with copyright or with the right to be forgotten in the EU. it was because of the contents of that archive being released irresponsibly/devoid of social context. mastodon's personal archives aren't enough; those only grab own posts.

@trwnh we just don't need that archive. full stop.

@trwnh any mastodon server or post archive not done by the authors

@wilkie unfortunately due to character limits i'll have to repeat the second half of that:

i.e. what rights do the *participants* have? a conversation with only an author is awfully one-sided.

@trwnh a conversation has multiple authors, no? seems easy. whoever has the more strict rules applies. if i was replying to a protected account, my reply should be protected, no? people have very reasonable expectations, there, and it is already unethical to break them (screenshot private accounts, etc) not sure this is controversial.

@wilkie ah, that's not what i meant. i guess what i was trying to say is, in the loose sense, do you have a right to archive your mentions? since you did not "author" those posts...

even w/r/t screenshots, do you draw a distinction between the act of screenshotting itself, or shouldn't the act of publishing that screenshot to a wider audience be the real issue?

@wilkie essentially what i'm trying to get at is that i see the issue as not one of archival per se, but one of republishing/distribution.

@trwnh that makes it a copyright issue. in those cases, I think avoiding it or at least anonymization is best practice. again, this all seems fair for a *private* archive. you just don't want to give too much visibility to somebody who can't consent or who doesn't want it.

@wilkie Despite copyright being an aspect of legal distribution rights isI should probably disclose that I do not believe in justifying the existence of copyright in the slightest -- although, that's a separate discussion entirely. I'm much more interested in the ethics of distribution rather than propertarian / legal debates, and particularly in identifying which ethical issues arise from that distribution vs. which arise purely from the act of archiving itself. Esp. in combo with above thread.

@wilkie Meaning that, we can establish some ethical guidelines for redistribution a la "contact their next of kin" / etc, if we take the foundational proposition that "people have a right to control what happens with information they produce". Yes/no?

@trwnh sure. next of kin would control copyright, so that even works within the legal model while also being a reasonable thing to just do.

@wilkie two points of contention re: this and --

1) copyright does no good, certainly not for protecting personal data. the correct avenue for this is privacy law; to draw an analogy to the medical field, personal data such as PII has nothing to do with copyright, and more to do with the right to privacy.

2) under current copyright law, copyright is not automatically inherited; it must be bequeathed explicitly within a will or contract. if not, then they're orphaned.

@trwnh 1. it can, except people waive their rights in that regard with ToS, which is where the privacy law comes in and becomes necessary.

2. all assets are inherited in some way including non-tangible ones even with default wills. so your kin would be able to provide permission and usage exceptions. it's good to be explicit though, let me tell you. write your will!! orphaned works are those without known owners... that doesn't happen in this case.

@wilkie But to throw another complication into it: let's say someone does not accept the proposition that "people have a right to control what happens with information they produce", similar to the concept of "death of the author" in literary analysis, but expanded to all information that exists.

In fact, this does seem to be the sticking point with hardcore archivists, at least based on my understanding...

@wilkie that case, I would say there is still an argument to be made from social harm. This, to me, effectively shifts the foundation away from authorship to a more consequentialism-friendly interpretation.

@trwnh death of the author does not apply. this isn't fiction! it's real people! people are allowed to be unethical jerks, but they are still jerks.

@wilkie I didn't say "death of the author" exactly, but rather, a similar concept applied to information. Yes, these are real people, but if you deny the premise of them having authorship over information, then that negates all ethical arguments rooted in authorship. Thus, the need for a different root for ethical arguments (e.g. consent, consequences, utility -- or any framework not based in ownership or property rights)

@trwnh modern copyright is oppressive, but when it does do some good, it is when used to protect personal data from being abused by big entities

@wilkie so an interesting follow-up would be this: since *conversations* have more than one party, what then are the rights of each party involved in the conversation? does one only get to keep the messages they sent, or the messages they received as well?

and tangentially, if you remove the "public" aspect of it and look purely at a messaging standpoint: is there any ethical framework for analyzing the storage of messages received in the past that the author wishes they had not sent?

@trwnh social value does weigh into ethics and some public figures get that treatment, but even historical figures often see a process where they get permission/verification from surviving family.

delayed release is indeed part of the presented consent model! it's fine, if specified by the authors. otherwise, no... personal content should be destroyed in the absence of permission. it has no actual value. aggregate value will still be obtained from volunteered content. we don't need everything.

@wilkie one concern here: the types of js-only stuff that make archiving hard tend to make accessibility hard, too :/

@wilkie okay, this is super ironic, but would you be okay with this post being saved to the Wayback Machine? I feel like it's a commentary on archiving the web worth preserving - you did a really great job of laying out the context and stuff, including a lot of details I haven't seen people talking about on my timeline.

@packbat not ironic, appropriate! :) thanks for asking. I don't mind at all. I should apply some consent labels to my posts, now.

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