Imagine a time in the future when keychain USB sticks hold petabytes of data and you can download every movie ever made to your cell phone in a matter of seconds. All it takes is one disgruntled Google employee with the right connections, and the complete record of every Google search ever made is now available. Maybe all emails in Gmail too. It’s AOL all over. In less than day this archive shows up on hacker sites and has been downloaded millions of time. Pundits call it “G-day”. You can’t put this geenie back in the bottle.
It is almost certain that all of our searches will some day be made public.
To deny this means that one of the following statements is true:
- It will never be possible to quickly copy/transfer terrabytes of data.
- At some point in the future, Google (or subsequent acquirers of Google) will decide to thoroughly delete all search records.
- There will never be a security breach at Google in which search records are copied or transfered out of Google’s control.
- No one in the future would be interested in obtaining a copy of all Google search records.
Of course, the same goes for every other search engine, ever other aggregator of data. One file with all of Hotmail, one with MySpace, one with every video from YouTube, etc… The ramifications of this forced-radical-transparency are huge. Your grandkids, if they want, will probably be able to see every search you’ve made, every email you’ve written. Will presidential candidates will have to explain their search record.
What do you think? Is it really inevitable, or will it happen too far in the future for it matter, or will our guardians be able to keep that data secure for all time?