'The Problem With The Internet Is That Nothing Is Temporary'

We feel the empowering nature of presumed anonymity when we sign online. No matter how long we've been alive or how smart we may be, we often neglect the permanence of the data we contribute to the internet.

Photo by kated (Shutterstock).

Young developer Will Smidlein explains the problem concisely and poignantly:

The problem with the internet is that nothing is temporary. There's always a cache, a backup, a screenshot, a file. And teens use the internet. And when people use the internet, they don't always think before they act. ... Technology abstracts us from the emotions that humans require for every day interaction. Trust, fear, compassion, empathy. It all goes out the window with a screen name.

We easily hurt ourselves and others when we act first and think second. It may have once been common sense, but with personal responsibility abstracted thanks to a series of tubes we have to take that extra step to remember ourselves.

Permanent [Life of Will via Swissmiss]


    ...except that it's not permanent. Not the way stone carvings or papyrus, or even plain old paperback books are permanent.

    The Internet relies on a complex and fragile infrastructure which, while it has redundancies built in, requires constant maintenance and supervision to exist.

    Print out your photos, folks. We *might* be using data from 2012 in 100 years, but it's almost *certain* that we'll still be corporeal humanoids who like to look at historical artifacts as records of bygone times.

      Paperbook books, stone carvings, etc. aren't permanent. They can be destroyed. And remember, this is for the average person - not a major selling author, selling billions of books. If the average person prints something out, but does not post online - it won't exist in 10 years. If they post online, it will exist in 10 years.

      A friend of my brothers was fired last year after something he posted on Usenet in 1993 turned up.

        What did he post?

        Lesson learned: Don't post on Usenet, or better yet, just don't post anything you don't want showing up later. :-) Even better, just don't post and don't use the internet, then privacy issues will go away. On the other hand, there's stuff out there about you that you didn't even put there that can get you in trouble, even if you did nothing wrong, so why worry? :-D

    I'm thinking about typing my book of short stories onto a roll of tinfoil...using a classic pre-electric Olivetti typewriter. Make them permanent in metal.

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