ernst jünger in cyberspace

mailing list archive - Re: Shutting down the Internet

Gary Kern wrote:
> > A recent news item here in the USA pointed out that
> > servers retain records of your e-mail, so that it can be
> > recovered and used against you.  Your own computer
> > hardly erases anything for good, unless you're short on
> > space, so it can be retrieved and scanned.
> If you are working on a Windows 3.x or 95/NT machine, just use defrag
> as often as you can, and you'll leave nothing at all on your
> disk(s)...
> As for servers keeping your email, well, one of the raw matters which
> are most precious is disk space.  It seems strange (to me) that
> Internet providers are eager to occupy so much disk space with copies
> of old email messages for--for how much time?
> Seems an urban legend, but maybe you have detailed proofs of this.
> Umberto Rossi
Sorry to say, my source was a segment on the TV news highlighting a
number of cases where people were tracked or held accountable by their
e-mail.  Of course, one situation was obvious:  employees sending
personal e-mail from their place of work, then erasing the sending.  The
company could retrieve the erased e-mail and reprimand the employees. 
Another case involved a professional, hired in legal cases to take
confiscated computers and dig out all the supposedly erased files.  He
said nothing is erased.  As for the servers keeping e-mail records, I
think there was a case of the government tracking someone that way--my
memory is vague. It does seem implausible that the servers would keep
all that junk for very long.

Another invasion of privacy concerns the cookie.  Evidently sites that
you visit can read your cookie and pick out places you've been; then
they can send you commercial messages or sell your name, etc.  The
visits might also make a record (the cache, I suppose) that some snoupy
agency could explore, if so disposed.

In your other post you argue that there is just too much stuff to be
monitored, and I tend to agree.  But programs can be set up to do the
monitoring automatically, just the way stores hand you a personalized
coupon when you buy something, because the machine recognizes your
purchases, or companies draw up your purchasing profile on the basis of
where you live, etc.  No one person gives a damn about you or what you
do, but machines are monitoring and goods are proffered on the basis of
what you, citizen No. D-503.000007, do.

This takes us into the realm of machines vs. humans:  who serves whom?


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