Thursday, October 08, 2015

Why we should let our digital data decay

Why we should let our digital data decay. Jamie Carter. South China Morning Post. Oct 8, 2015.
     An article that states we have all become "digital hoarders" and that letting "data expire and self-delete might be the best way to clear the clutter". Some quotes from the article or quotes of quotes to consider:
  • storage is easy to come by. So cheap has it become, in fact, that none of us are deleting anything any more. The cloud has become a commodity that's often given away free 
  • Online storage has become "dumping grounds for files to sort later."
  • "Digital minimalism has only increased the rate at which we remove physical, analogue items in favour of their digital counterparts - why have an entire library of books when you can have more books than you will probably ever read in your life on a Kindle?"
  • what's the point in having more than a few dozen ebooks? Probably the most liberating thing a Kindle owner can do is to delete any book unread for more than a year.
  • "Currently, 'forgetting' data by deliberately deleting it routinely requires more effort than having it preserved"  
  • "This increases the 'cost' of digital forgetting, and thus tilts the default towards preservation. As a consequence, digital minimalists need to spend significant time and effort to get rid of data."
  • Living as a digital minimalist is almost impossible; the constant decision making and pruning of files is time-consuming. With the cost of storage so low and falling all the time, routinely deleting data doesn't save you money.
  • Allowing data to expire and self-delete might be the most effective way to prevent our digital detritus from owning us. It might seem an esoteric debate, but there is a clear demand for apps and services with short memories.
  • as we are requested to set expiration dates we are reminded that most data is not relevant and valuable forever." In short, we'll take fewer photos, upload less, and cherry-pick only the most precious to preserve "forever".  
  • Of course, there are downsides to replacing digital durability with digital decay in the way the internet works. 
  • While some compliance rules require data retention - something that encourages companies to retain everything they do, digitally, forever - there are also data protection laws in many parts of the world to ensure that data that is no longer needed, relevant or accurate is deleted.
  • "Permanence is something we bestow on digital data, it is not a genuine quality of digital data"

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