你死后,你在互联网上留下的痕迹将由谁来继承?

日期:2019-01-13 20:41:29   来源:互联网   编辑:小狐   阅读人数:707
越来越多的全球文化只存在于网络上,这对那些记录世界历史的人来说是一大。2017年8月,飓风哈维横扫加勒比海,之后在德克州和路易斯安那州南部登陆。这场飓风导致100多人死亡,仅在美国就造成了约1250亿

越来越多的全球文化只存在于网络上,这对那些记录世界历史的人来说是一大。

2017年8月,飓风哈维横扫加勒比海,之后在德克州和路易斯安那州南部登陆。这场飓风导致100多人死亡,仅在美国就造成了约1250亿美元的损失。

随着灾后恢复工作的启动,休斯顿莱斯大学的研究人员和档案保管员联合休斯顿公共图书馆、休斯敦哈里斯郡公共图书馆和休斯顿大学图书馆,开始着手制作此次飓风的电子数据库。

你死后,你在互联网上留下的痕迹将由谁来继承?(图1)

谷歌等企业会储存海量数据。

来自社区的大量照片、音频以及灾难回忆被发到了社交媒体上,但我们并不能保证后世的能看到它们。参与上述计划的莱斯大学的历史学家Caleb McDaniel 说:“不愿意看到这些信息丢失,也不愿意使用未来的人无法获取或无法读取的方式储存它们。”

哈维记忆计划(Harvey Memories Project)旨在将这些信息分门别类,永久地记录下来,以便保存民众对飓风的记忆,为后来的历史学家和其他研究者所用。该计划于7月启动,目前已记录了数百份资料,但是该团队希望可以增加到数万份。

哈维记忆计划凸显了一个日益严峻的问题:我们的文化体验大多记载在转瞬即逝的技术中。每天,数以亿计的照片被上传到社交媒体上,而在我们的文化输出(如模因、猫咪图片、推特、播客和教育)中,越来越多的内容只存在于网络上。

想要记录这些电子材料,则面临着技术、法律和社会方面的。而其中大多数信息掌控在私有企业,如脸书和谷歌手里,这就让问题愈发严重了。对那些想要保存文化遗产的人来说,这些问题相当棘手。

牛津大学互联网学院数字伦理实验室的研究者Carl Öhman说: “我们必须探讨一下,应该采用什么样的价值观和准则来指导历史记录,是代际公平,科学,还是商业准则?”

真实还原

档案保管员遇到的一大技术难点就是选择能够经得住时间考验的储存介质。正如软盘会消失,光碟也越来越少见,记忆卡和U盘一类的现代储存介质也可能被的技术取代。磁盘和硬盘最终也会由于理化性质老化而报废。

为了保障介质损坏或技术过时情况下的数据获取,档案保管员需要定期将数据转移到新的储存媒介中。但是每次数据转移都可能发生错误。为了找到这些错误,档案保管员会在拷贝原始文件之前生成一种“数字指纹”digital finger-print也叫哈希值。

数字指纹这种字符串对原始文件来说是独一无二的,因此可被用于校验拷贝是否和源文件相同。如果文件在拷贝的过程中发生了变化,那么哈希值就不再匹配,档案保管员就会被提示重新再复制一次。

有时候,为了保存数字对象,需要故意对其进行修改。比如,去掉音频录音文件里的噪声。即便如此,档案保管员也需要尽可能地保存原始主文件。

新西兰国家图书馆的数字保存团队主管Steve Knight说:“维护数字原版的一个原因是,二三十年后,可能会出现某种新技术,让我们能够以现在无法想象的方式读取原版文件。”档案保管员采用各种各样的设备和技术来保护原版文件,比如防写装置就可以防止计算机在连接的硬盘上写入数据。

由于软件和文件格式变化速度快,这些硬件问题愈发告急。在现代设备上通过复制已过时的软件来读取特定格式的文件不是不可能,但是如果对源文件格式或软件所知不多,那就需要耗费大量的搜索查证工作。

2013年,卡耐基梅隆大学的计算机俱乐部花了几个月的时间做逆向工程,终于从流行艺术家安迪·沃霍尔(Andy Warhol)的Amiga软盘中恢复了一些隐藏的图片文件,得以复制沃霍尔著名的汤罐和其他数字实验作品。修复后,这些文件可以被转换为现代格式或标准格式,但是源文件的一些属性或其中包含的信息可能会丢失,比如照片拍摄地点的元数据。

最终的技术在于,要确保未来的学者能够调用数据。和传统人工制品相比,数字对象更容易被篡改。不过,拷贝文件时所采用的检验和保护工具让档案保管员可以防止或侦测恶意篡改。Knight表示说:“数字对象的完整性和真实性是数字保存工作的核心。”

联通各处

如果国家图书馆的目的是保存一个国家的记忆,是Knight口中的“和未来联通的通讯线路”那么就必须有一种机制让图书馆可以获取资料。许多国家针对书籍和期刊等纸媒出台了法律条款,要求出版商为国家图书馆副本。

2003年,新西兰成为首个要求数字对象也必须遵从呈缴制度(Legal Deposit)的国家。因此,新西兰国家图书馆有权对新西兰境内的网站以及在该国境内创造出来的其它数字材料归档。此外,只要受版权法保护的数据不在未经允许的情况下使用,那么该国图书馆就能够绕过版权保护协议保存数据。

但是,仍有许多数字材料不在此类法律的涵盖范围之内。最重要的是,档案员想要保存的信息大多掌握在大型跨国企业的手里,它们恐怕没有兴趣配合图书馆。

你死后,你在互联网上留下的痕迹将由谁来继承?(图2)

哈维记忆计划旨在保存来自公众的关于飓风哈维的图像、和个人故事。

Arun Chaudhary/哈维记忆计划

不同国家的图书馆本可以通过合作,跨越国境障碍。但是法律差异使得这种方法也行不通。比如,不同的国家对呈缴制度所涵盖的材料有不同的规定;有关诽谤、和渎神的法律规定也不尽相同。

公司和个人所发布的数字信息的体量也加大了收集工作的难度。2010年,美国国会图书馆和推特达成了一项协议,美国国会图书馆可以将该公司于2006年成立之日起的所有推特内容归档。

2013年,美国国会图书馆宣布收集了2006-2010年间的所有推特,并且建立了一套后续推特流的程序。当时每天都会产生近5亿条推特。但是美国国会图书馆最近修改了它的收集政策:从2018年初开始,它将有选择性地收集推特信息,因为推文、照片和的数量持续攀升。在找到低成本的检索方法之前,目前该图书馆较为有限的推特档案是禁止公开的。

私人问题

国家图书馆被迫要做出艰难的选择,而社交媒体公司有能力在它们的数据中心里储存我们的海量私人数字信息。但是,这些公司并不是为了公共图书馆才储存这些海量信息,而是因为保存用户的信息有利可图,即使用户亡故也一样。

只要死者的账户还能引起亲友的注意,让他们有所行动,那么死者依然有商业价值。关于该如何处理用户死后的账户,脸书和谷歌各自有相应的政策,用户可以自行选择。死者账户可以保存图书馆不保存的信息,但是它们能存留多久取决于它们的商业价值。

数字遗产的还催生了一系列新的法律问题。英国阿斯顿大学的媒体和隐私法高级讲师 Edina Harbinja说:“现行的解决方案并不完整,有时会引发问题。”比如,它们可能会和或遗产法发生冲突。她说:“某个朋友可能是谷歌或脸书服务的遗产受益人,但是他们不是能够继承死者财产版权的继承人或近亲。”如果死者账户里包含受版权保护的内容,那么就会产生混乱。

不同国家的隐私法和继承法也各有不同,这可能进一步使相关政策的解释和执行变得复杂。Harbinja认为这些问题将推动形成一个更完善的“社交媒体”因为数字遗产相关法律会不断发展,在理想的情况下,不同国家之间的法律差异能得到调和。

尽管做出了诸多努力,我们的数字遗产依旧命运多舛。2012年,一名15岁的德国女孩被地铁撞击身亡。她的父母想要取得她的脸书账户的完整访问权,因为这样可以寄托他们的哀思。不仅如此,他们也希望可以从中找到线索,以了解女儿是不是因为遭遇网络霸凌而自杀。2015年的一审判决把账户判给了他们,但是对方上诉,2017年一审判决被。这场争议的核心是,女孩和脸书的协议是否像书信日记那样可由其父母继承,另外这种继承是否违反隐私法。

2018年7月,德国联邦最高判定这对父母可以拥有女儿的账户,即社交媒体账户的继承应遵循和书信相同的原则。但Harbinja对这个判决表示不服,她认为德国联邦最高忽视了一些基本的伦理问题。她认为不管在什么条件下,和脸书签订的协议纯粹是私人的,而隐私权在本人身故之后依然有效。

此外,授予继承人访问账户的权利使他们能够查看死者生前与其人私下的信息,这就触犯了隐私法。Harbinja 告诉澳大利亚广播公司,“网络上的自我和身份代表远比信件和照片复杂。”她认为处理方式应该因人而异,不应该一刀切。

除了法律问题,数字遗产的商业化意味着,死者数字遗产的使用将受到利益的驱使。这可能导致数字遗产被当成商品,死者亲属的悲痛被人利用见“数字永生”。

牛津大学数字伦理实验室的Öhman 和 Luciano Floridi倡导将数字遗产视为物理遗产的延伸,“数据不仅仅是我们拥有的物品,比如一辆车,还是我们身体的一部分,如同我们的胳膊一样。如果有人侵犯我们的隐私,那么我们失去的不是一件物品,而是对我们身份的控制,是尊严。因此,如果说我们的隐私权能在我们不知情的情况下被侵犯,在我们死后它也同样可能被侵犯。”

数字永生

当你死后,对你的数字遗产的处理将不可避免地引发尊严和商业相关的问题。传统的社交媒体公司至多把死者的个人页面变成缅怀页面,但类似于Eternime 和 Eter9 的“数字来世”初创公司则更加大胆的服务。

伦理学家对这些数字分身可能引发的伦理困境发出了警告。牛津大学数字伦理实验室的Carl Öhman认为,“如果公司之间争相‘消费’死者,那么左右我们对死者的记忆的就只会是利益,而不是公正、历史价值、情感价值等,除非后面这些伦理原则正好合消费者的心意。”

这些网站的聊天机器可能逐渐偏离本人的真实样貌。经济利益可能驱使这些公司根据商业目标控制聊天机器人,他们可能无意真实地还原死者。例如,由于参与度在社交媒体上是一种极为重要的商业指标,因此聊天机器人可能会比本人更加外向健谈。

因为这些担忧,Öhman认为数字来世公司应该确保做到以下几点:第一,消费者清楚在自己百年后,自己的数据将被如何呈现出来;第二,聊天机器人的人设不会和本人相差太大;第三,用户只能上传自己的数据,而不能上传亲友的数据用于制造数字分身。

随着我们的生活和数字通讯关系越来越紧密,我们选择保留什么材料以及如何这些材料,将在我们的文化遗产形成中发挥越来越大的作用。飓风来袭后,记录社交媒体帖子似乎无关紧要,但是这背后的动机和一百年前的图书馆收集制作剪报和一手的活动是一样的,它们都可以增加我们对灾害的认识。新技术带来了新,但是鲜有人会质疑保留可能转瞬即逝的记录的重要性。

发布在2018年11月28日的Nature Outlook上

OUTLOOK

Saving the digital world

A growing proportion of global culture exists only online, presenting a challenge to those tasked with maintaining the historical record.

Sedeer el-Showk

你死后,你在互联网上留下的痕迹将由谁来继承?(图3)

Corporations such as Google store enormous amounts of data. Credit: Google Cloud

PDF version

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey swept through the Caribbean before ng landfall in southern Texas and Louisiana. It led to more than 100 deaths and caused an estimated US$125 billion of damage in the United States alone. As recovery efforts began, researchers and archivists from Rice University in Houston, Texas, together with the Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library in Houston, and the University of Houston Libraries, set out to create what they describe as a digital memory bank of the storm.

Numerous photos, videos, audio clips and stories from affected communities had already been posted on social media, but there were no guarantees that they would remain available for posterity. “You dont want all that stuff to get lost and never preserved or archived in a way that future generations can access and learn from,” said Caleb McDaniel, a historian at Rice University who is part of the project.

你死后,你在互联网上留下的痕迹将由谁来继承?(图4)

Part of Nature Outlook: Digital revolution

The Harvey Memories Project aims to process and catalogue this material in a permanent archive, preserving the communities experience of the hurricane for historians and other researchers. The archive launched in July and already houses hundreds of records, but the team hopes to save tens of thousands.

The Harvey Memories Project highlights a growing problem: much of our cultural experience is now mediated by ephemeral technologies. Hundreds of millions of photos are uploaded to social media every day, and an ever-growing portion of our cultural output, from memes and cat pictures to tweets, podcasts and educational videos, exists only online. Archiving these digital materials poses a host of technical, legal and social challenges, many of which are exacerbated by the fact that much of the material is in the hands of private corporations such as Facebook and Google. These challenges raise important questions for anyone concerned with preserving our cultural heritage.

“We must start talking about what values and principles we want to guide the curation of historical records: generational justice, scientific, religious, commercial,” says Carl Öhman, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institutes Digital Ethics Lab in Oxford, UK.

Playing safe

A cross-disciplinary array of experts is working out how to address these questions. Earlier this month, the International Internet Preservation Consortium held its annual Web Archiving Conference in Wellington, New Zealand. The meeting brought people from a variety of disciplines together to discuss the social and technical obstacles to preserving the worlds online heritage. Talking points included the development of new tools for collecting online media, and the difficulties encountered when dealing with transnational platforms.

One of the technical challenges facing archivists is choosing a storage medium that will stand the test of time. Just as floppy disks disappeared and optical disks are becoming less common, modern storage media such as memory cards and USB sticks are likely to be supplanted by newer technologies. Disks and drives also ually wear out because of physical and chemical degradation. To safeguard access to stored information in the face of decay or technological obsolescence, archivists regularly transfer data to new media. But errors can creep in with each transfer. To spot them, archivists create a ‘digital finger-print’ known as a hash, before copying the original file. This string of letters and numbers is unique to that file and can therefore be used to verify that any copies are identical to the original. If the file is changed during copying, its hash will no longer match, alerting archivists to the need to try again.

In some cases, digital objects need to be deliberately modified to preserve them, for example by removing noise from an audio recording. But even then, archivists also keep the original master whenever possible.

“One of the reasons for maintaining the digital original is that in 20 or 30 years’ time there might be a mechanism where we could actually go back to the original and use it in a manner that we can’t now,” says Steve Knight, head of the digital-preservation team at the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington. Archivists use various equipment and techniques to preserve the integrity of the original, such as write-blockers, which pr a computer from writing to a connected hard disk.

These hardware problems are compounded by rapid changes in software and file formats. It is possible to replicate the outdated software required to view a particular type of file on modern equipment, but this can involve significant digital sleuthing if little is known about the original file format or software. In 2013, when enthusiasts at the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, recovered a cache of image files from Amiga floppy disks that belonged to pop artist Andy Warhol, for example, they spent months reverse-engineering the software needed to view the images. Their effort was rewarded with a digital reproduction of Warhols famous soup cans and other digital experiments. Once recovered, such files can be converted into a modern or standardized format, although this might result in the loss of properties or information embedded in the original, such as metadata recording the location at which photographs were taken.

The final technical hurdle is ensuring that the provenance of the data is recorded for use by future scholars. Digital objects are more vulnerable to tampering than traditional artefacts, but the verification and preservation tools used during copying enable archivists to pr or detect malicious manipulation. “The integrity and authenticity of the digital object is at the root of the digital preservation endeavour,” says Knight.

Access all areas

If national libraries are to serve as the memory of a nation and provide what Knight calls “a communication line with the future” there must be a mechanism to let them access the material. For printed documents such as books and periodicals, many countries have laws that require publishers to provide copies to their national libraries.

In 2003, New Zealand became one of the first countries to extend this principle of legal deposit to digital objects. This gave the National Library the right to archive websites based in New Zealand and other digital mat-erial created in the country, and allowed it to bypass copy protection to preserve the data, provided that copyrighted data are not made accessible without permission. Many digital data are beyond the scope of such laws, however. In particular, much of the information that archivists want to preserve is in the hands of large international corporations that might have little interest in cooperating with libraries.

The Harvey Memories Project is preserving the publics images, videos and stories of Hurricane Harvey.Credit: Arun Chaudhary/Harvey Memories Project

For example, much of the music produced by New Zealanders is hosted on online platforms such as Bandcamp, says Knight, and these have little incentive to deposit their audio files with the National Library. The trans-national nature of social media and other online services means that “a lot of those activities are effectively happening offshore” he says. “This brings up a whole range of not just legal issues, but also social and cultural questions around how national institutions build and protect the digital collections chronicling the history of their countries.”

Collaborative efforts between national libraries could help them reach beyond national boundaries. But these approaches can be stymied by legal differences between nations, ranging from what material is covered by legal deposit, to laws regarding libel, obscenity or blasphemy.

Libraries can also face problems with legal deposit when people publish images and text online while travelling abroad. Legal-deposit laws vary between countries and do not always authorize the collection of digital material published by its nationals outside the country. As a result, national libraries might sometimes need to determine whether a digital item was published from within the country or abroad, ng the collection process inordinately complicated. Knight suggests that archivists should proceed boldly, with a mind-set of seeking forgiveness later rather than permission in advance.

The sheer quantity of digital information published by companies and individuals also makes collection difficult. In 2010, the US Library of Congress reached an agreement with Twitter that enabled it to archive every tweet since the companys inception in 2006. The library announced in 2013 that it had collected all the tweets from 2006 to 2010 and established a process for managing the continuous incoming stream, which had grown to roughly half-a-billion tweets per day. But the library recently changed its collection policy: from the start of 2018, it started archiving tweets selectively, as a result of the continued growth in the quantity of posts and the number of images and videos being shared. Until a way can be found to provide access cost-effectively, the contents of its now more limited Twitter archive will remain under embargo.

The selection of tweets for the archive will follow the librarys general collection guidelines, which focus on preserving material related to s of national interest. However, the need to be selective raises important questions about which materials are preserved in a nations memory. Digital technologies should make it easier for smaller or marginalized communities to be heard, but this diversity is still not always captured. Libraries are not entirely neutral repositories of knowledge; intentionally or not,the choices made about what to preserve reflect societys inequalities and biases.

Personal problems

Whereas libraries are forced to make difficult choices, social-media companies have the capacity to store vast quantities of our personal digital information in their data centres. These enormous private archives are not managed with the aim of preservation that guides public libraries, but they nevertheless have incentives to retain users data — even when the user has died.

The accounts of deceased people are commercially valuable as long as they continue to generate interest and activity from friends and family. Facebook and Google have policies that enable users to determine how their account should be managed after their death. These memorials might help to preserve material that is not kept by libraries, but their longevity is dependent on their commercial value.

The management of digital remains creates a new set of legal questions. “These in-service solutions are partial and sometimes problematic,” says Edina Harbinja, a senior lecturer in media and privacy law at Aston University in Birmingham, UK. For example, they might clash with a will or inheritance laws. “A friend can be a beneficiary for Google or Facebook services, but they would not be heirs and next-of-kin who would inherit copyright on ones assets,” she explains, leading to confusion if the account contains copyrighted material.

你死后,你在互联网上留下的痕迹将由谁来继承?(图5)

More from Nature Outlooks

The laws governing privacy and succession also differ between countries, and this could further complicate the interpretation and implementation of these policies. Harbinja sees them as a start towards a more comprehensive system of ‘social-media wills’ as laws regarding digital remains develop and, ideally, become harmonized across nations.

Despite these efforts, the fate of our digital remains can still pose problems. In 2012, a 15-year-old German girl was killed by an underground train. Her parents asked for full access to her Facebook account — not simply a memorial site — in the hope that it would hold clues about whether her death was a suicide, perhaps resulting from online bullying. An initial court ruling in 2015 granted them access, but the decision was overturned on appeal in 2017. This debate centres on whether the girls contract with Facebook can be inherited by her parents in the same way as letters or a diary, and whether this would violate privacy laws.

In July 2018, Germanys highest court ruled in favour of the parents, determining that social-media accounts should be passed on to heirs in the same way as books and letters. Harbinja disagrees with the decision, believing that the court overlooked some fundamental ethical questions. She argues that a contract with Facebook is purely personal and that the inherent right to privacy should extend beyond an individuals death, regardless of the circumstances. Moreover, granting heirs access to an account would give them the ability to view material shared privately by contacts of the deceased person, violating the right to privacy. “Online representations of self and identity are much more complex than ones letters and pictures,” Harbinja told Australian radio, advocating a nuanced approach, rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.

Alongside the legal questions, the commercial management of digital remains means that their use will be driven by profit incentives. This might lead to their commodification, or the exploitation of the grief of the bereaved see Digital immortality. Öhman and Luciano Floridi, also at the Digital Ethics Lab in Oxford, advocate that digital remains should be treated as an extension of physical remains. “Data is not merely something we own, like a car, but something we are, like an arm,” says Öhman. “When someone intrudes on our privacy, we dont lose anything that we own, but we may lose control over who we are, our dignity. It follows that since our privacy can be violated without our knowledge, it can also be violated when we are dead.”

DIGITAL IMMORTALITY

When you die, the way your digital remains are handled inevitably raises questions about dignity and exploitation. Conventional social-media companies go no further than turning a profile into a memorial, but ‘digital-afterlife’ start-ups such as Eternime and Eter9 offer a more ambitious alternative. Given access to your social-media accounts, their algorithms will analyse your images, links, posts and interactions to build a ‘virtual you’ — a digital representation of your online persona that will ually interact with your loved ones. Neither of these services are live yet, but tens of thousands of people have signed up, highlighting the allure of digital immortality.

Ethicists warn of moral quandaries surrounding these digital recreations. “If firms compete in ng the dead ‘consumable’ our memory of the dead will be guided only by the principle of profit, and not principles of justice, historical value, sentimental value and so forth, unless such principles happen to align with what consumers want,” says Carl Öhman of the Digital Ethics Lab in Oxford, UK.

The chatbots used by such sites might also gradually diverge from the original persona. Financial incentives could push companies to calibrate chatbots towards commercial goals that might be at odds with an honest depiction of the deceased. For example, because engagement is an important commercial metric on social media, the bots might be more extroverted or chatty than the original person.

These concerns lead Öhman to suggest that digital-afterlife companies should have to ensure that consumers know how their data will be displayed post-mortem, that users will not be depicted radically differently from the original bot, and that people can upload only their own data, not data to create a representation of friends or relatives.

As our lives become increasingly enmeshed in digital communications, questions about what we choose to preserve and how we manage those materials will play an ever-bigger part in the formation of our cultural heritage. Archiving social-media posts might seem trivial in the wake of a hurricane, but it is driven by the same motivation that made libraries collect the newspaper clippings and first-hand accounts that expand our knowledge of disasters a century ago. New technology has brought fresh challenges, but few dispute the need to preserve our otherwise ephemeral recordings.

Nature563, S144-S146 (2018)

This article is part ofNature Outlook: Digital revolution, an editorially independent supplement produced with the financial support of third parties.About this content.

本文相关词条概念解析:

数字

印度-阿拉伯数字系统的十个数字,按值排列。数字是一种用来表示数的书写符号。不同的记数系统可以使用相同的数字,比如,十进制和二进制都会用到数字“0”和“1”。同一个数在不同的记数系统中有不同的表示,比如,数37(阿拉伯数字十进制)可以有多种写法:中文数字写作三十七罗马数字写作XXXVII阿拉伯数字二进制写作100101(除十进制和二进制外还有八进制);英文名;Digital。

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