Friday, May 8, 2015

Permanent?...Not for Long

How many times have been warned that what you do online lasts FOREVER? We have always thought of the internet as a place where everything is saved, but what if society changed and made the default thinking so that nothing is kept and everything is deleted unless the information is saved? This idea is called the “Erasable Internet.” The erasable internet was suggested by a New York Times journalist, Farhad Manjoo. He based this idea off of the Sony hack case where many important files, letters, and conversations were shared around the internet. If the idea of “erasable internet” were put to action, then it would be a good choice for the world.

Confide app, completely confidential?
I personally think that this concept of an erasable internet is beneficial because it not only would stop hackers because there would be nothing to hack, but it create a safer internet for people to use. For example, in the Sony hack case, every emailed conversation and every letter was saved, which became a problem after everything was leaked. Snapchat, which is an erasable messaging able, is also an excellent example of what the erasable internet could like because it was the first application made solely for the creation of this exciting topic. After the creation of Snapchat, there are more businesses and apps that are using and changing their security plans with information or subscribing to certain applications so that what they say is confidential within certain people. The co-creator of Confide (a private business messaging app),
  Howard Lerman said, “Everyone is so excited about the cloud, but the cloud is really a drunken Xerox machine making copies of pretty much everything that everyone has said anywhere and spewing it all over the place.” Mr. Lerman made a great point by saying that, even though, many people are so excited about the “Cloud” it also means that someone is storing your data and that someone has access to it. After reading about Mr. Lerman’s creation confide, I have started to use the app to compare its accessibility to other private messaging apps such as Snapchat. I was very amazed while using it because of how CONFIDEntial the app has showed itself. If the amount of users that use Facebook and Twitter see and use Confide, the internet would slowly begin to come private.

Many companies such as Facebook, Google and other social media’s would very much appeal to this idea because they have always saved everything and have thousands of “Server Farms” around the nation, which have cost not only a lot but also create tremendous amounts of revenue for theses companies. This idea which Manjoo has created is very interesting because if this idea goes viral, which it has with the app Snapchat, then it could mean drastic changes or the end to Google and Facebook. This is why Snapchat and Confide are extremely dangerous for Google and Facebook. In today’s age, it seems like nothing can stop companies like Google and Facebook which are buying out other businesses to be the two dominant companies and which are the top two resources used digitally. Now granted Snapchat and Confide are not search engines and you can not use it store data in the cloud, it can be used as “the first step” to an erasable internet. Many civilians are also very cautious about this idea because, many believe this idea could never work because nobody has seen how applications such as Snapchat work, without anything being saved. Many parents and schools disagree about the creation of Snapchat because the amount of control they have with kids sending inappropriate images through Snapchat. This means that teens feel, that because Snapchat does not technically save the pictures, they are not being caught for their actions.

Many people believe that this idea is also showing responsibility for the environment, because it would decrease the amount of server farms. These units are specifically, for Google or Facebook so they can save everything that is searched or everything that is posted. Most of these servers have to be carefully watched so none of the units overheat and cause fires. With the large fire risk that this can cause it creates the problem that these server farms can ultimately create tons of unwanted gasses in large areas of a country. If Google agreed to change which things they save, then they could sell back giant pieces land because it is no longer in use.

As an outcome of this idea, I expect that this plan would create greater amounts of positive attraction rather than creating havoc and unwanted press. If the idea of an erasable internet continues and companies use it as an advantage, then private communication and secrecy of messages will create a safer internet for people to use.



The erasable internet, was an extremely interesting topic for me to tackle because of how often I apply it to my everyday life. The erasable internet concept needs to be a more active tool in the business world and  personal lives of everyday citizens. I often use apps like Confide and Snapchat. I have always thought of how it would be if nothing was saved or kept on servers. Many of the comments I received were very beneficial to conversing about this topic, but were never strong enough to actually change my opinion. One comment by Ellen Selkie was thorough and provided a well rounded idea of the erasable internet. In her third paragraph she talks about how the erasable internet might not be completely emerged in society, but with the push in device applications we are getting closer everyday. Through all my research, I became very knowledgeable about this topic.  To answer people’s comments, I did not need to do further research. Things I would change if I was to do this again is not procrastinate as much and create more time for me to look over my work. I really enjoyed making this blog because of how much information there was currently on this topic. Some of the comments I received helped me see both sides of the argument. In conclusion I really enjoyed creating this project because it was my first time ever blogging, and sharing my ideas with the rest of the world to see and give their opinion.


  1. Jared, you got a comment from a teacher named Mr. Levesque. His comment didn't post, unfortunately, but he also sent it to me via another channel. Here it is:
    "The problem of an erasable internet is the hackers would erase instead of copy. Same problem different outcome."

  2. Jared, great points! You're not alone in thinking that an erasable internet is a good idea, at least on some level. On September 2013, the landmark Eraser Button bill was signed into law in California. This law requires websites and apps to permit users under 18 to remove content they've personally posted. (

  3. And one more article you may be interested in:

  4. Very interesting how Confide and Snapchat have rushed in to fill the void for "erasable" apps, but how can we be sure these new apps are not keeping our data?

    Does the recent ruling by the US 2nd Circuit Court affect your thinking on this whole question?

  5. Hey Jared Khanna, that was a really interesting topic and it really made me think of what the internet would be like if nothing was saved. While I agree that many times it would be nice if websites and others couldn’t use our information and make us feel as though we were constantly being spied on, having an erasable internet has many downsides. For example, if you accidently exit a site that was very hard to find, then you can never get back on to that site because the URL and the search history will be erased forever. Also, having an erasable internet would be much less efficient because we would always need to save a password, or remember an URL. In addition, we would lose targeted advertising and product recommendations (The Wall Street Journal) . Without targeted advertising, many people who use advertising as a main source of revenue would make a significantly smaller profit. I think that with the ‘Erasable Internet’ we will lose many features that we often take for granite. What do you think about this different point of view? Thanks for posting- Mr.Flinderson

    1. Mr. Flinderson, these are all great topics you have brought up, but personally I still believe that the idea of the erasable internet should be pursued. Advertising could change so the products they show are attractive to everyone watching rather than just the one person.
      Thanks for reading -Jared

  6. I have never considered the environmental impact of server farms, and I agree that being able to easily erase content permanently rather than have it linger unused may help. As far as data security, I do think erasable Internet is one tool that would be useful in helping people keep things private. However, at some point, the information has to be displayed on a screen, and when that happens, what is to stop someone from taking a screen capture? Would erasable Internet lull some people into a false sense of security and inadvertently promote unsafe online behavior?

    1. Hi Jeff, that is a very good point I don't know how screen captures could be changed/disabled but that would certainly create a problem for the "erasable internet"
      Thanks for reading - Jared

    2. The Confide app has made screen captures virtually impossible by revealing only part of the message (or attachment) at a time. Furthermore, you have to keep a finger on the content to see it, so it's pretty hard to take a screen shot simultaneously. It's pretty revolutionary compared to other apps!

  7. Jared, this is a great post and very thoughtfully researched. I have been thinking a lot about the benefits of an erasable Internet lately, especially as it relates to the digital footprint. I work a lot with teenagers and young adults and one thing parents are often worried about is, for example, that in 10 years an employer will Google a person applying for a job and choose not to hire them because of something that person posted on Twitter when they were in high school. I don't think that adults should be judged for things they put on the Internet as teenagers, and having erasable content would help with that.

    At the same time, I like the idea of being able to CHOOSE to save certain things online--it can be fun to look back on old pictures so I wouldn't want everything erased.

    I also am not sure how close we are to an erasable Internet just yet. Even Snapchat is sometimes able to dig up deleted data--see their blog post about this ( where they say:

    "Also, if you’ve ever tried to recover lost data after accidentally deleting a drive or maybe watched an episode of CSI, you might know that with the right forensic tools, it’s sometimes possible to retrieve data after it has been deleted. So… you know… keep that in mind before putting any state secrets in your selfies"

    Now this typically applies only when requested by law enforcement, and it would take a lot of effort to get at that data so this would make for a "safer" Internet overall. Still, it's not clear to me yet how possible it is to truly erase content--but you're right, it's getting closer!

  8. Hello Jared, I love the points you make about the erasable internet, I believe that this will become more and more relevant in the future. It will be interesting to see how hackers react to this idea because they could also use it to their advantage by maybe erasing their trace so that no one can track them. I personally use snapchat and I can see how the erasable part of it may be beneficial towards some people and I would like to see this idea brought into more websites. I also believe that this could be used for business as well. At the end of this comment there will be a link that may help you furthr investigate this topic. Keep up the good work Jared.

    1. Thank you Jonathan! This article is actually where I got most of my data about the Sony Hack. Its a great article and very well written. Thanks for reading Jared

  9. This is a very well written post Jared. I also agree with you about how erasable internet is good. It can help people be more protected and have more privacy in the media.It can also help to prevent being rejected from a college or not getting a job because someone googled your name and they saw a Facebook or Instagram post form 8th grade. One thing to think about is how people will react to this. A link that may help you is
    ( )

    1. Thank you Elle!, Unfortunately I was not able to see the link because of The Wall Street Journal's rules. Although the title looked great! Thanks.

  10. Interesting that your article on the erasable internet prompted me to respond LONG after it was posted.
    The topic of your post was very interesting and you posed some good questions, giving real-world examples, but I wonder if the user of every app expected them to be erased, would they be even more likely to behave inappropriately? As it is they know their comment is recorded forever, but the apparent anonymity of the internet motivates them to post without thinking and reduces the social restrictions which moderate our behaviour in the real world (no one ever says "my, my, you are ugly" when they meet someone in the real world.
    Another concern (and possibly the more important long-term) is that when people assume their conversation is temporary they are likely to be less concerned about security and probably reveal more about themselves and their passwords, etc than they would if they knew they were being watched. Just because the messages disappear from the app, there is no reason to assume they have not been captured by someone without your knowledge, but the expectation of users make them more likely to reveal too much about themselves.
    Finally, the digital dark age is a real risk where terrabytes of important information will become unreadable as technology changes. In an erasable internet, would it be likely that really important content would be properly protected to ensure its survival for future generations? NASA taped over the original recordings of the moon landings. If someone could that mistake, I don't like our chances of successfully saving valuable internet content for the future in an erasable internet world.

    Thanks for the post. Certainly a worthy topic.


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