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This is what tomorrow holds

Recently we at The Highway Star were contacted by a person who was concerned that one of the comments on our site contains an untrue statement and asked if the comment in question could be removed. We refused to remove it, for a variety of good reasons, and offered our help in getting in touch with the author of the comment to sort things out.

Which got me thinking…

After our Bullets flying editorial was published, some of you started complaining that “if you have nothing good to say, say nothing” contradicts freedom of speech. No, it does not.

With freedom comes responsibility. Responsibility for your own words, for what you say. It doesn’t matter where you say it. It’s all the same Internet. It doesn’t matter if you’re hiding behind a nickname (putting a real name to a nickname is often a lot easier than many of you might think).

And everything that you say on the Internet stays there forever. One can remove something from a web site, but no one can “unpublish” something from the Internet as a whole. Even if we decide tomorrow to close the shop and destroy all the data on The Highway Star, it will make little difference. Everything you can see on our site has already been crawled, archived and indexed by Google, Yahoo, dozens of other search engines, by the Wayback Machine, and probably by thousands, if not millions, other less obvious places on the ‘net. Repeatedly.

Bruce Schneier (a computer the computer security guru) writes about this phenomena:

Welcome to the future, where everything about you is saved. A future where your actions are recorded, your movements are tracked, and your conversations are no longer ephemeral. A future brought to you not by some 1984-like dystopia, but by the natural tendencies of computers to produce data.

Increasingly, you leave a trail of digital footprints throughout your day. Once you walked into a bookstore and bought a book with cash. Now you visit Amazon, and all of your browsing and purchases are recorded. You used to buy a train ticket with coins; now your electronic fare card is tied to your bank account. Your store affinity cards give you discounts; merchants use the data on them to reveal detailed purchasing patterns.

Computers are mediating conversation as well. Face-to-face conversations are ephemeral. Years ago, telephone companies might have known who you called and how long you talked, but not what you said. Today you chat in e-mail, by text message, and on social networking sites. You blog and you Twitter. These conversations – with family, friends, and colleagues – can be recorded and stored.

Note: they are being recorded and stored. Bruce wrote that piece for the BBC and probably didn’t want to scare the wide audience too much.

It used to be too expensive to save this data, but computer memory is now cheaper. Computer processing power is cheaper, too; more data is cross-indexed and correlated, and then used for secondary purposes. What was once ephemeral is now permanent.

Your future has no privacy, not because of some police-state governmental tendencies or corporate malfeasance, but because computers naturally produce data.

To which I must add that police-state governmental tendencies and corporate malfeasance don’t exactly help matters either.

Cardinal Richelieu famously said: “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” When all your words and actions can be saved for later examination, different rules have to apply.

(Go and read the whole thing, if you never paused and thought about it, it’s very illuminating. And yes, there are people who try to put a positive spin on these developments.)

Now, imagine 10 years from now your prospective employer judging you by the comments you have written on some music blog back in 2009.

We all here at The Highway Star value your privacy like our own. But the day will come when someone knocks on the door and we will no longer be able to protect you. And let’s be honest, we’re all human beings, with all the usual weaknesses. If we think your behaviour in the comments was less than commendable, we might be less motivated to fight for you.

With the lawmakers and judiciary increasingly meddling with the things they apparently do not understand, this day will come sooner rather than later. You’ll know that the day of reckoning has come when the innocent warning below our comment box changes to “You have the right to remain silent. Everything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.” And the brave new world shall begin.

Behave yourselves, it’s in your own best interest.



26 Comments to “This is what tomorrow holds”:

  1. 1
    adri says:

    spot on!
    totally agree with you on this one!
    oops, let’s hope this will not be hold against me;-)

  2. 2
    George says:

    So, this means, that we’ll see Tony Carey in the “brand new world”, rejected by promoters and damned by new world’s rullers because of his comments on ths.com? wow, that’s cool, can’t wait for the New World Order, it seems to be quite impresing :D))))))))

    btw, I know it’s not 1st April today, so we can’t consider this article to be a 1st April Joke… what else could this “article” be? I don’t know… simply can’t stop laughing 😀
    thanks to Nick Soveiko for predicting TC’s and MY future…

    Did I say anything negative? sorry that 😀

  3. 3
    metaljim says:

    I for one thank you all for maintaining this splendid site, the first and BEST DP related site on the internet. To those who choose to use it as a forum to insult one another or attempt to force their opinion on others, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
    What the editors do here, without pay or any other financial reward is what appears to be an often thankless job and an unending nightmare of babysitting what should be adults.
    When those of you who are offended by their attempts to maintain a balance here start paying them for their time and efforts, maybe you’ll have room to talk. Until then, you should stop whining about censorship and freedom of speech and just grow up.
    The biggest problem here appears to be people’s inability to know the difference between facts and opinions. When you’re old enough to know the difference, the world becomes a lot clearer and petty squabbles like the ones on here fade away.
    My sincere thank to the editors for all their hard work. I wish you all the best.
    Jim C.

  4. 4
    Patrick says:

    yea we should all thank the highwaystar editors …the first thing i do when i go online is come here .. without this site i would be lost .. prolly would have missed alot of shows also

  5. 5
    George says:

    READ THE ARTICLE PLEASE, THE TOPIC ISN’T ABOUT GIVING THANKS TO THS.COM

    i VIEW THS.COM FOR 6-7-8-10 TIMES A DAY, THAT’S MY THANKS TO THE EDITORS…

    BUT THIS IS NOT TOPIC OF THIS BLOG…

  6. 6
    Monika says:

    @ George: No, it’s not. BUT it is about freedom of speech in the web and the consequences if that freedom is used.
    Let’s be honest: I’d rather be connected with polite and considerate words than with insulting and destructive ones. No matter what my opinion is I have expressed with them.

  7. 7
    Rascal says:

    Sounds like the gods have had a ‘book club’ meeting……..what was on the list ‘Animal Farm’, and ‘Deep Space Nine’

    Record it, log it, file it…….Boys

  8. 8
    kraatzy says:

    In my opinion THAT is the right way.

    @ Monika: You give it to THE point.

    It´s okay to talk free about your meaning, but you have to do this with the responsibility to injure nobody with any kind of abuse …

    And if this happend, you have to ask this person/group for forgiveness. Only that is the way to talk or criticize anyone. That´s the simply not at least christian way to live and talk together.

    AND THAT´s THE ONLY WAY TO POST IN HERE …

    Long Live Rock´N´Roll
    Long Live Deep Purple

  9. 9
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Freedom of speech to all on an internet website that is not Aministrated by yourself? That has to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.
    Not for one second would I expect such a thing. Shame does come to mind, but then it’s pretty darn obvious who wrote in and complained about that… the idea of freedom needs to be carefully explained to this person, hopefully some of the text provided helps concerning the internet.

  10. 10
    Wolf Schneider says:

    Crimson, you would be probably be wrong. George, so would you.

    You’re missing Nick’s point here; he’s not referring to a particular post, he’s trying to get you to think about your behaviour and your Internet presence in general. We keep getting requests from people who ask us to take their names off reviews they submitted 10 years ago, because they are concerned about they way they wrote them.

    The reality however, as Nick so eloquently pointed out, is that the genie is out of the bottle once you’ve done ANYthing public — and not just on the Internet, think about the millions of cellphone cameras out there clicking away everyday — and will never, EVER go away again, regardless of how long you wait and hope people will forget.

  11. 11
    Rascal says:

    Its serious………

    Ten years from now a ‘knock at the door’, someone stands there and says ‘remember ten years ago when you send a less than commendable comment about a member of a tribute band?’

    Before they clap me in irons, and throw away the key……I’ll fire a barrage of photon torpedoes, and give them a burst of phasers….

    ‘Beam me up Scotty’

  12. 12
    Wolf Schneider says:

    Rascal, he was of course being facetious when implying the Thought Police will be coming to get us, but only barely. Already HR departments now tend to do Internet searches on prospective employees as a matter of course, to see what sort of things turn up and get an impression of the person other than the one presented in a carefully crafted resume.

    Smart Agents are going to make that form of data mining far more sophisticated very shortly, and then they’ll be doing things like examining all posts you may have written to learn things like whether you tend to rant or use accusatory words, whether you use proper grammar, and anything else they might want to set up filters for.

    And no amount of phaser power will save you from being flagged by a set of criterion filters. You may not get exiled if you are, but it may well lessen your desirability for job offers, credit rating, any number of things.

  13. 13
    Rascal says:

    And then will ‘skynet’ send a ‘Terminator’ back through time to get me?

  14. 14
    GerAssenNetherlandsAge51Male says:

    #2 metaljim #3 patrick #5 monika #7 kraatzy :
    I fully agree with your comments.

    George and Rascal : I know you’re DP-fans, I appreciate it, but why are your comments often so offensive, defensive, cynical or personal against other visitors ?
    I’m trying to understand, but I can’t. Enjoy your life a bit more 😉
    Despite all I like visiting THS 🙂

    Cheers to all, rock on 😉

  15. 15
    Stefan says:

    I just can´t stop laughing myself silly…..This is hilarious!!

    “Christian way to talk and live together”,Kraatzy???? Who are you….Pope Benedictus in disguise??? Come on get a grip on reality!! If you can´t stand the heat when our favourite band is dicussed…..go elsewhere!! May I in all respect suggest the moral majority´s website….”And the meek shall inherit the earth”!!!

    About big brother knocking at my “back” door…..Bring them on….I just tell them to “don´t go away mad, just go away”!!! ROCK ON!!!

  16. 16
    Rascal says:

    Careful Stefan….what you say now may be held against you on ‘Judgement Day’……..

    Is it true Microsofts Vista has an integral ‘mind probe’, I believe its part of its ‘Thought Extraction’ software?

  17. 17
    Crimson Ghost says:

    @9

    Wolf, what did I get wrong???????
    I am 100% for moderation and did not indicate anywhere that I am not.
    Where did I say I wasn’t? So how do “I” fit into all of this?

    When I mentioned the free speech factor, I was speeking for it, not against it… I think I know all about it, man…. Adiministrating two websites that are busier than this one with posting activity. I have plenty of experience at this.

    It’s also concerning that people would go to the length of asking material with their name on it to be removed… I went over with Goerge about how if he unleashes his recording on or even off the internet, what will almost instantly happen to it. You must have missed my FIRM sance on this subject!

  18. 18
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Sorry for the typo!

  19. 19
    Crimson Ghost says:

    @11

    What are telling us that’s new here?

    You must think ‘some’ here have been living in Swiss caves for over a decade or something now.lol!

  20. 20
    Rascal says:

    This ‘Big Brother’ seminar you attended is all well and good, but can find out when we will get:-

    1) Flying cars / jetpacks
    2) Smell-o-vision
    3) Teleportation
    4) Moon colonies
    5) Under sea cities
    6) Time travel
    7) Cybermen

    Ohhhh and a cure for all diseases……

    Thanks

  21. 21
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Lol! I want my flying car, it was promised to me as far back as 1971!

  22. 22
    Rascal says:

    leonardo da vinci had to wait 400 years for the helicopter!

  23. 23
    Roberto says:

    “With freedom comes responsibility…”
    To have different opinions or have negative opinions on something / someone and saying them in without offend for you is not responsability???
    pratically we are here only to agree with you or differ but just a little bit…is this democracy???
    Still think this is absurd…
    Moderators shoul operate only if someone say lies or spread insults
    and yes: “I’m Not Responsable” as Deep Purple learn…
    Now you can archive my post forever…

  24. 24
    Rascal says:

    Ive been researching this subject, and their may be far more truth in this than we are giving credit for.

    Well, thats what my friends ‘Fox Mulder’, and ‘Dana Scully’ told me!

  25. 25
    Brent says:

    Metaljim: To those who choose to use it as a forum to insult one another or attempt to force their opinion on others, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Amen, brother!!! If you’re full of nothing but poison and vitriol, then keep it to yourself and don’t spread it around. The rest of us don’t want it and it is terribly damaging to sites like THS and my own. As administrators, we DON’T have to tolerate it because these are PRIVATELY OWNED websites and “free speech” doesn’t have to be allowed if it extends outside the limits of the site’s rules, what the staff considers to be in good taste, or what might cause the sites you enjoy to have unfortunate legal run-ins, or that might put us at odds with important sources and partners who help us get the information out to you.

    As the article points out, you need to be mindful of what how you present yourself not only on the music forums, but on the internet as a whole. Things are a lot different than they were just 10 years ago. It’s far, far less anonymous than you think it is. If you spread untrue information about somebody that impugnes their reputation and good-standing, your “freedom of speech” won’t hold up as a defense against a libel lawsuit.

    Cheers

    Brent

  26. 26
    Roberto says:

    @25 I agree…

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