Journalism is literature in a hurry.
If you entrust your data to others, they can let you down or outright betray you.
The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.
The crucial legacy of the personal computer is that anyone can write code for it and give or sell that code to you – and the vendors of the PC and its operating system have no more to say about it than your phone company does about which answering machine you decide to buy.
All sorts of factors contribute to what Facebook or Twitter present in a feed, or what Google or Bing show us in search results. Our expectation is that those intermediaries will provide open conduits to others’ content and that the variables in their processes just help yield the information we find most relevant.
The increasing legal pressure against archives has created anxieties among researchers, librarians, and journalists. They cite the need to protect sources who wish to make a record for posterity; procuring documents and interviews from those sources will be difficult if the fruits are only one subpoena away from disclosure.
Attacks on Internet sites and infrastructure, and the compromise of secure information, pose a particularly tricky problem because it is usually impossible to trace an attack back to its instigator.
Owned technologies are easy to grasp because they’re so prevalent. They’re technologies that are developed and shaped by a defined group, usually someone selling it.
The last refuge of privacy cannot be placed solely in law or technology. It must repose in both, and a thoughtful combination of the two can help us thread a path between having all our secrets trivially discoverable and preserving nothing for our later selves for fear of that discovery.
Through historical accident, we’ve ended up with a global network that pretty much allows anybody to communicate with anyone else at any time.