“If you ask Anthony Weiner, digital records—especially those on the Internet—can seem impossibly hard to get rid of. When a picture or document is reduced to a series of 1s and 0s, it becomes transmissible, reproducible, downloadable, and storable. You can’t burn digital books, and ideas like cloud computing make it possible to back up data in multiple places, ensuring even an accidental fire won’t incinerate your thesis or wedding photos.
The digitization of data gives it protection from physical catastrophes, but, as it stands now, it’s far from eternal. The problem isn’t so much that the data itself might be lost, but that there will be no way to read it.