Dear FileSlinger clients, colleagues, and friends:
There was a time when it was difficult to find a new backup subject to write about every week. Thanks to the research I’ve been doing lately, however, it’s become difficult to choose which backup talk about to write about this week. I’m drowning in white papers about enterprise storage solutions.
Today I want to talk about a data retention proposal in the European Union, just so you know that even I think backups can be taken to extremes.
The Justice Minister of the Netherlands, who is chair of the EU this year, wants police to be able to trace all telephone and internet activity for all individuals at all times. Therefore he has proposed a law requiring ISPs and telecom companies to retain copies of all their customer data (including e-mail, voice mail, SMS text messages, and web surfing) for one year.
Think about that for a minute. It’s like never deleting an e-mail message (even if it’s spam), never clearing your browser cache, and never deleting your phone messages for a year. Oh, and leaving all those installer files, audio files, and multimedia greetings on your computer, too.
How fast would your hard drive fill up if you did that?
Multiplied by thousands, even millions, of customers, it’s a logistical nightmare, guaranteed to drive costs through the roof–costs which would be passed on to the users. Most corporations already find it highly expensive to try to track down stored e-mail in the case of a lawsuit or other investigation.
And that’s quite apart from the violation of the right to privacy.
Naturally, the ISPs are protesting, and the other members of the EU have not received the proposal with the enthusiasm that Minister Donner had hoped for. But it remains a possibility, and a classic example of the danger of having people who don’t understand technology making laws about its use.
You can read more about this at http://tinyurl.com/47cv8 or by doing a Google search on the terms “isp,” “europe,” and “Donner” (the last is the name of the Dutch Justice Minister).
Meanwhile, if you have less than infinite storage space, be discriminate about what “data traffic” you save and back up. And once you have a backup of older files, such as those for projects you’ve closed out, you can remove them from your hard drive and make room for the new projects.
More backup news next week,