Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Few Brief Thoughts on Internet (In-)Security

       A couple of days ago, this blogspot that I use was unavailable to me for a couple of hours, while my hosts' (Google's) supercomputers were doing what they call maintenance.  When they were finished, the site reappeared intact -- except that my most recent update of the "Passing of OBL" post had been replaced with an earlier version.  A paragraph containing a link, and at least one recent comment, were lost.

       No, I do not suspect any form of foul play, since the missing link and comment were of a like kind with those that remain: civil, friendly, legal, etc, etc.  I imagine that some glitch occurred, and the computer algorithms automatically reinstated the most recent cached version when the current version of the post was lost.

       It reminded me, though, that we communicate with each other on the Internet only by the permission of the Powers That Be.  I am, like you, at the mercy of unknown and unknowable supervisors and technicians and algorithms and policies that are as good as they are, and no better.

       This site could be hijacked.  I could be misrepresented; you could be ignored.  There is a lot of garbage flying around on the net -- the produce of souls and machinery, either malevolent or clumsy, who, like virtual poltergeists, throw stuff here and there for whatever reason.  For example, every few days, some spam gibberish appears in the comments area (it appears to be machine-generated), and the automatic spam filters remove and save it for my inspection; but occasionally they will mark as spam a perfectly legitimate human comment.  When I find them, I restore them.  But I, and you, have no way of knowing if other comments never even appear. (Unless you write a comment and it doesn't show up here.)

       This blog could disappear in a moment -- for some good reason, or for some bad reason, or for no reason at all.  Just be aware.

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Comments always welcome.

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