One of my favourite words in the English languages has to be immutable. It’s an adjective for things that cannot be changed, although most programmers will fondly remember it from dealing with functional languages at some point in their career. It’s a concept that’s particularly relevant to this blog and some of the recent posts made on it. These blog posts are quickly becoming immutable, as they inevitably stay up and get search indexed by crawlers and ultimately archived on the all too familiar Archive.Org site, the content on them is never going to go away.
For some of the individuals that have been depicted in the past two blog posts I’ve made, this is a concept that will prove all too scary: their aliases are bound to be forever linked back here as long as they use them, even if the site is ever taken down. The existence of this site on a given host doesn’t mean much in terms of keeping the site going, even if the VPS provider for whatever reason deemed it a good idea to have service terminated, the data from the site could be brought back up to another, more suitable VPS provider within 24 hours. It is fruitless to think that once words have been said on the internet, they will simply go away. Sure, there is a case of web rot that takes 10-15 years before something is unlikely to be stumbled upon, and even the archiving methods of archiving methods fail, but this was the past.
It is now so cheap to store huge amounts of data, processing power is so freely available and bandwidth is far better such that anything can be stored to hold the HTML content of a page, if nothing else. If you don’t believe me, you can find that Google already caches this website, despite not having gone out of my way for any form of SEO nor advertising the site in any major capacity. It’s not even the websites that are at risk, your chatlogs could be pulled from group or private chats with tools for a long time now, and non-expiring pastes on pastebin and other sites can ensure that what has been said may never disappear. Even if you were able to take something down, the Streisand Effect will ensure that the better you are at removing something, the more interest people will have in sharing it.
I think it is truly a last resort if someone tries to pin me on copyright, because it implies that all other venues have been exhausted, and that the only appeal to have something changed is to try and force in legal measures not over the reasoning of the article itself, but on an element used as an example in that article. Copyright itself struggles heavily to get itself enforced even in blatant cases, and the persistence of the Pirate Bay should show that a takedown actually encourages moving to a new platform in defiance instead of acting like a deterrent. This even went so far as to garner the nickname “Hydra Bay”, in that you can cut off one head of the mythical serpent and two more grow back.
Truly immutable data is coming, the blockchain is capable of it, and there isn’t a court or government in the world that will be capable of controlling it. You’re living in the last generation where every last piece of information on you is even slightly mutable and you are witnessing that changing at a rapid pace. If you don’t know anything about security and can’t tell the difference between a VPS provider and WordPress then it sucks to be you.
I’ll pause and give some genuine advice to the people that might end up being written about on this website: instead of making your problems worse, start taking responsibility for them.