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SXSW day 3 report

March 16th, 2010 · No Comments

Another post from Austin, TX — SXSW 2010.

During a panel today, a new buzzword (to me at least) popped up…

"Data Exhaust"

This is the by-product of you interacting with the internet. When you search Google, when you create content, when you tweet, when you update your favourite app, you leave behind a trail of bits that slowly dissipate. These include logs & caches, content that references your content, metrics and date time/stamps and other sorts of tailings.

That "exhaust" from your interaction is valuable, it can be mined for info even if that data has been anonymized. It can make other people quite a bit of money. Some people disagree that this should be the de facto way everything works.

I’m no expert in any of this, but when the term came up my first immediate reaction was, how does this relate to driving a gas guzzling car that creates the fumes the buzzword references?

Should we be concerned about reducing this emission? Is there such a thing as ZERO emissions interaction with the net? Should it be your right to have that? Or would a complete anonymization remove all useful functionality? Will we see a movement towards a "clean" internet, where you at least have control of that emission or can choose how much is spewing out behind you, without slowing you down?

Tags: plank + work · tech + the internet · thinking + zen