Digital Deeds Never Die or Being and Time

This one is gonna fuck with ya.

Business Week

Unless you work for the National Security Agency, you'll never be sure that digital record you created is gone, truly gone, no matter how hard you try to delete it. That failed relationship that played out in e-mail -- still out there somewhere. That blog rant you're typing? It will be around when the plastic in your keyboard has dissolved into slush. Like an impulse tattoo, expressing an opinion online may seem like a good idea today, but it has every prospect of embarrassing you 20 years from now.

Digital data doesn't disappear. Regardless of the desired disposition, erased or hidden, it may come back again, someday. The Western notion of privacy will tip on this pivotal concept, causing profound societal changes in how we view our past.

Cameras record pictures on film. Control the negatives, burn the prints, and you've contained the damage. Handwritten letters are unique. Long afterward, the recipient is the only one who can look and recall the contents.

But the guts of digital gadgets work differently. Manufacturers market them as if they are powered versions of their analog counterparts, like electric knives are to carving knives. But that's an incorrect comparison. Computer gizmos work completely differently. Digital cameras are not film cameras with USB ports. Digital devices create data files.

These chunks of data are infinitely able to be replicated and globally accessible at virtually no cost. Plus, it's impossible to tell if someone has made copies, and the resulting replicas are indistinguishable from the original.