In S01 Ep 3 "The Entire History of You" of the series (where they store all their memories on a chip behind the ear), we can see :

  • At security in an airport for example, a guard can ask somebody to show all events within a week to see if the person saw some specific people.
  • Anybody can erase memories at will, leaving "a hole in the history"

These points seem contradictory : if a guard sees a hole in history, this could immediately raise suspicion.

Also there's a scene where a girl calls the police for witnessing a fight and she cannot do anything because she doesn't have a chip to prove what she says. Which means that those "memory chips" have a huge evidence weight...

Is memory deletion legally managed ? What would have happened if Liam went to the airport with a hole in his history ?

  • If you had a hole in your history though, then the outcome of what was deleted would have no bearing on what you do, right? So for example, if you planned to attack the plane and deleted the memory, then you should no longer have the memory to be able to act on it. – Mwr247 Mar 29 '18 at 12:23
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    @Mwr247 unless you set some action in motion (say, planting a bomb with a timer) and then deleted the memory. – delinear Mar 29 '18 at 12:25
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    @delinear In which case, presumably they would notice there being no memory of you packing your suitcase, which itself would be suspicious. Or even if you did, they'de still have all the normal fallback security we use now (x-ray luggage, metal detectors, etc). Checking memories just adds a layer on top. – Mwr247 Mar 29 '18 at 12:48

Erasing memories could potentially increase suspicion, but that doesn't mean it implies guilt. Sure it'll give them a reasonable reason to put you through heightened security checks, but in the context above memories are just clues to finding actual threats. If you have a hole in your memory, they can still check your person and your luggage (like they already do). If they find nothing, then there's no threat, so there's no problem.

In the case of evidence, I'd imagine this might work in generally the same way normal evidence retention does. Depending on your reasons for deleting, how you go about doing it, and whether or not there was a court order to retain the evidence, you may or may not be in trouble.

But then again, considering it's a literal direct extension to the mind, can a court really force you to hand it over in the first place? This is actually presently in debate in real life, regarding whether or not fingerprints/passcodes can be demanded from people to acquire access to digitally secured elements. Given the long term effects such rulings could determine, these are exactly the sorts of questions Black Mirror intends to bring up.

Suffice to say, by nature of the fact that you can delete memories, it would seem that doing so is indeed legal, at least generally speaking. As far as evidence, that all depends on how their universe's courts and laws ruled on the subjects above.

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