April 21st

Maybe the NSA is good for one thing after all

Vacuuming up the vast amount of online digital data and storing it for future reference is something one US government agency is apparently very good at. The rest of the world is not, according to Dutch researchers.

We are emerging from the digital dark ages. Much of the information from the early days of internet has gone for ever.

All those beautifully crafted tweets and Facebook posts, the modern equivalent of historic diaries so beloved of social researchers, could be lost to future generations (except maybe in the US where, alongside the NSA’s nefarious activities, the Library of Congress is now archiving all Tweets from US citizens).

Not terribly tragic, one might think while scrolling past the millionth Facebook photo of a cat. But consider that the Arab Spring played out to the world on social media and one’s perspective changes.