When Tunisian strongman Ben Ali was chased out of power last January, after a month’s escalating protests, his documents begun to disappear. It was not all nefarious goings-on. In many of the situations, the simple fact that old government and personal sites weren’t being kept up meant the documents they held disappeared in the blink of an eye.
What’s the Big Idea?
The disappearance of digital information by attrition or because a user dies has already been acknowledged as an issue we need to deal with, says Curt Hopkins. “It’s an issue that our global society is going to have to address better than it is now with ad hoc lunges at preservation, or else we won’t lose bits and bytes, we’ll lose our history.” “The French entrepreneur and digital activist (and former ReadWriteWeb France editor) Fabrice Epelboin and I, along with a number of others, published an open letter to Facebook, asking them to preserve the information created on their service during the uprising. Our idea was for the information to be archived and people who created it could elect to allow others to view it, thereby securing a crucial moment of communication in a political change of great importance.”