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03/07/2007 Archived Entry: "The risks of third-party data storage"

YET ANOTHER REASON WHY OUR PRESENT TECH-RELIANCE without extensive failsafe systems is folly:

Do you want to trust some unknown server in an undisclosed location to store your company's entire history, let alone your personal one?

Given how many people answer yes to this question, I could easily imagine my Googler friend's baby growing up in a world where people trusted all their data to mega-storage companies like Google, Yahoo!, and SixApart. I imagined a future where some catastrophic event -- EM blast, super El Niņo, virulent worm, massive political insurrection, whatever -- took out half the world's data storage.

It's possible such an event could be as destructive as the 1929 stock market crash. Money would be lost, and whole careers based on creating and analyzing online data would be trashed in an instant. Famous bloggers would be left with nothing -- their bodies of work, years worth of brilliant observations stored on anonymous corporate servers, would be obliterated. And their letters would be lost to future biographers. There would be no old trunk full of correspondence to sift through and discover new angles on great cultural commentators. That trunk would be a Gmail account; its contents would be zapped into nothing.

This from tech guru Annalee Newitz. She's wrong on only one point: comparing such an "event" to the crash of 1929. It could be a lot worse than that.

Posted by Claire @ 12:04 PM CST

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