With so much our data ‘out there’ or accessible to someone/thing ‘out there’, are we left to simply ‘delete all’ or shrug our shoulders? The following article by Harvard’s Jonathan Zittrain suggests that using encryption technology, one could ‘seal’ data until a specified time, securing it even from subpenas, etc., with technology that secures crypto-currency like bitcoin. I have my doubts, but it is worth a read.
Those anxious about the increasing use and scope of legal pressure against archives include researchers, librarians, and journalists who point out the value of protecting sources who wish to make a record for posterity, and the difficulties of ever procuring documents and interviews from those sources if the fruits are only one subpoena away from disclosure. On the other side include those who simply want to solve awful crimes and have those behind them made to answer on the law’s timetable rather than their own.
Are we stuck with either having to destroy our secrets or leave them exposed to near-instant disclosure? It might be possible to split the difference: to develop an ecosystem of contingent cryptography for libraries, companies, governments, and citizens. Instead of using new technologies to preserve for ready discovery material that might in the past never have been stored, nor deleting everything as soon as possible, we can develop systems that place sensitive information beyond reach until a specified amount of time has passed, or other conditions are met.