An appellate court ruling is expected today on whether temporary logs kept in RAM should eligible for e-discovery. See Eweek's story here. I won't bother to get into too much of the details described in Eweek's story. You really don't need the details, because we keep seeing the same case tried over and over again. Essentially you have a system that, by virtue of its little computer brain, can keep track of everything it does. And so the big brother types would like it very much if these systems would save for all time, every single thing they are ever used for - because perhaps at some point, someone somewhere, might somehow use the system for something illegal.
This is the typical slippery slope that we constantly bump up on. Authorities want to know everything knowable so that when a crime is committed, they'll have the electronic proof at hand. But that's not now we operate in this country. Big Brother doesn't get to know everything. Imagine the consequences of heading down this path. Cars are used to commit crimes all the time, should your navigation system keep logs of everywhere you go and every place you stop? After all, if you've done nothing wrong, what should you have to fear? Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Why shouldn't the government require us to carry a GPS-equipped cell phone at all times that reports our whereabouts every five minutes? After all, people do commit crimes. And if you're in Weight Watchers, they check your logs against known Krispy Kream locations. Please, by all means, save me from myself before I Boston-cream fill myself into an early grave.
My favorite notion tho, is the DNA capturing Ginsu knife. It's my own invention and if the trend continues, I'm sure it'll be a literal "must have". It's capable of discerning human DNA from other animals and has wireless capability for reporting purposes. For those in remote areas, there's a land-line version too. Imagine it - I'm home watching TV while slicing onions for that pizza the Weight Watcher's people will tell me I shouldn't have been eating in the first place - the knife will report the mozzarella, but I don't care.
Carelessly, I miss the onion and slice into my own finger. I rush for Band Aid, and go on fixing dinner. Five minutes later, twelve police cars surround my house. The Ginsu, upon detecting my DNA sprang into action, alerting the authorities to the apparently nefarious goings on. The blue and red lights fill my kitchen window as I hear "Drop the onion and knife and put your hands behind your head and drop to your knees... DO IT!" Seconds later I'm handcuffed and sitting in a squad car as twenty offices rummage through my house. You get the picture.Art Wittmann is a former editor for InformationWeek. View Full Bio