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Are We Stealing History II: The Price Of Privacy

This article continues the thoughts presented here

We are not cavemen because our ancestors passed down information so we would be better off than they were. If they had not, we would still be cavemen.

In 2016, I had to read The Letters of Tolkein for a class. I read all those letters, which gave me a peek into his time. I read his personal letters to his son and his wife. He talked about the second world war too. I hope to someday purchase that book just to preserve history for people to come.

Will people have the same privilege 60 years later? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Telegram will likely not exist by then. They will not be able to read conversations that happened during the two years of corona and now the Russia-Ukraine conflict, because these exchanges happened and are happening on social media, emails, and chat services.

Think of what happened when Orkut and Experience Project shut down. Every conversation that happened there was erased forever. No man in the history of mankind will ever find out what worries, issues, excitements people expressed and talked about on these platforms. Think of My Space. The website still exists, but people have abandoned it. Millions of conversations that happened are now locked behind passwords and will be forever erased when the service shuts down. Here's a related article about a man who tried to access his old Myspace. This is the fate of every social network and every email service.

200 hundred years down the line, people who want to know what happened in the decade of 2020s will have a hard time. They won't be able to read letters like we do about events that happened in the past. All worries, excitements, pains and sorrows that were expressed will remain locked behind a password until eventually erased. Can we really afford this?

Humans will collectively pay a massive price for privacy. Letters were private, but they were not as private as digital communications. Digital communications can only be accessed by the password holder. Once he dies, it is over forever.

In order to preserve history for our descendants, we will have to print everything out, which brings me to the same old question: why then do we communicate online if we will eventually have to print everything off?

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