When I begin to consider the research interest that I have been developing here I realize that it have everything to do with ethics.
I am looking at ways to take information that individuals or groups create online and preserve it for posterity. Many of these records are created by systems that users assume will protect them with a veil of anonymity (one group going so far as to call themselves Anonymous ), these same users go on to create, inspire, or join groups and movements that have had some serious and global consequences in recent years (Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring are just two of many). In some instances these groups/movements succeeded in bringing change, but even as the victor their actions have earned them grief. How can we blame these people for wanting to take down a blog, or delete a twitter account that could have been used in a legal battle against them?
But what if they are not actively taking down the material? What if, now that they have succeeded in their mission, the necessary supports to sustain a website fade away and eventually it is the hosting provider who takes a site down? In this instance would it be ethical for us to step in and preserve the site?
Then again, if most history survives by accident, do we not have an obligation to the future to try to actively preserve it?
I did not really quote from any of this but I randomly remembered a couple of things and they led me to these while I was writing this post.
n.d. 2011 Egytian Revolution. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Egyptian_Revolution.
n.d. 2013 Egyptian coup detat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Egyptian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat.
Byrne, Janet. 20012. The Occupy Handbook. New York: Back Bay Books.
Kelly, Brian. 2012. “Investing in a Centralized Cybersecurtiy Infastructure: Why ‘Hacktivism’ can and should influence cybersecurity reform.” Boston University Law Review 92 (5): 1663-1710.
Olson, Parmy. 2012. We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonyous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency. New York: Little, Brown and Co.