Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Sneakernet?

Why Sneakernet?

You're asking a good question.  As the trend is to move more and more data into THE CLOUD for safekeeping and easy access, THE SNEAKERNET is not only dying off but also is being damned to the fiery pits of digital hell.

And the Cloud has a lot of benefits.  It's less prone to catastrophic failure than your hard disk is (or so you hope), and it floats out there for you to tap into at any time.  Personally, I really like the Cloud a lot.

But I don't own the Cloud.

And not only do I not own the Cloud, there has been off-and-on discussion as to whether or not the Cloud owns the data I upload to it.  Take, for example, the legitimate data-holders caught up in the fall of Megaupload.  I'm guessing a SWAT team was not the sort of catastrophic data retrieval failure they were considering when they signed up.

SWAT Team raid in progress <Abort, Retry, Fail?>
SWAT Team raid in progress <Abort, Retry, Fail?>
SWAT Team raid complete <Abort, Retry, Fail?>

The Internet, and through it the Cloud, is a wonderful thing.  But I believe there's a folk version of the Internet we can put together in our own communities.  Check out how rural villages in Cambodia get access to a wider network by men on motorcycles coming around to pick up their data.

I propose we accomplish the same thing, only by ferrying USB drives back and forth between each other in an organized and interpersonal network, a "folk sneakernet" of sorts, with greater possible interconnectivity and person-to-person contact than the Internet allows us.  In the coming posts, I'll elucidate some thoughts on the political, technological, and practical reasons behind this project.

Happy file-sharing!


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