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Digital Footprints, What Happens When You Cannot Forget?

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Hyperthymesia is a neurological condition that bestows near-perfect recall on those who are afflicted with it. One of the most famous hyperthymesia cases is Jill Price, a 45 year old school administrator from California. She is able to remember everything that happened to her from 1980 onwards, everything. Huffington Post writes about this case and the condition as do others in cases from the Daily Mail the Telegraph and the BBC .

Like Eidetic memory, Hyperthymesia has some really impressive quality but some unpleasant downsides - especially reliving the daily grind, embarrassing situations and other times which you would prefer to forget. There is a fascinating article Why Women Recall Emotional Events Better Than Men Do which continues the theme about some people's ability to remember different things and the ability to recall them.

One rule (of 33 so far documented) of the living in a digital age is that the internet is written in ink and has "total recall" - once there you cannot take is back and as Zuckerberg's sister Randi found out you cannot depend on privacy settings.

Forgiven not forgotten was song by The Corrs way back but with it comes a thought about digital etiquette.

In a time when we may not be able to ignore that all the facts are there and accessible to anyone; how prepared are we to forgive as if someone has access to recall everything and everything about your life, our lives could become very untidy as we spend more time justifying our past than moving forward. Whilst the media loves to hold politicians to account for U turns (a change of opinion or direction) even if it is based on new facts, more experience, a change in environment or plan wrong, are we heading for a time of becoming more tolerant and if so how will this affect our views on privacy and indeed personal data? Further, since our chemistry and experience also affect our ability to forgive, should we focus on forgetting first?