BLOWN TO BITS
Why Is It Happening, and What Is at Stake?
A chapter REVIEW
Earl Von f Lapura
Technology has rapidly advanced, affecting standards on privacy, telecommunications, and criminal law. Every day, we encounter unexpected consequences of data flows that could not have happened a few years ago. Due to the bits explosion, the world changed very suddenly. Almost everything is stored in a computer somewhere. Court records, grocery purchases, precious family photos, radio programs… It is all being reduced to zeroes and ones – “bits.” The bits are stashed on disks of home computers and in the data centers of big corporations and government agencies. The disks can hold so many bits that there is no need to pick and choose what gets remembered. So much disk storage is being produced every year that it could be used to record a page of information, every minute or two, about you and every other human being on earth. Once something is on a computer, it can replicate and move around the world in a heartbeat. Making a million perfect copies takes but an instant – copy of things we want everyone in the world to see, and also copies of things that weren’t meant to be copied at all. Due to instantaneous transfers, some data leak. Credit card records are supposed to stay locked up in a data warehouse, but escape into the hands of identity thieves. And we sometimes give information away just because we get something back for doing so. A company will give you free phone calls to anywhere in the world—if you don’t mind watching ads for the products its computers hear you talking about. The book presents 7 ‘koans’ or principles regarding the bits and the effect of it on humanity. Koan 1: Even though your computer seems to present pictures, texts, songs, and videos, they are all composed of bits. Everything that’s digital are ruled by bits. Even as we speak, bits are flying through the airwaves by our phones. Koan 2:...
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