Future Beacon

Whose Information Is it Anyway?

by James Adrian


      Nowadays, your exclusive ownership and your control of information that belongs to you is compromised by the limitations of your memory and by your inability to keep your information confidential - no matter how legitimate your need to recall the information accurately and no matter how legitimate your need for confidentiality.

      This creates at least the following two business opportunities:

Audio Recording Devices

      Are you entitled to have a record of what was said to you? Do you have the right to know for sure that you heard right? Whether you are legally entitled to produce a recording as evidence in court is a separate matter. Whether you are entitled to repeat the information told to you is also a separate matter. In the face of all the imperfections of human memory, are you entitled to be sure of what was said?

      This is not a silly question. We have the technology to make sure that you have a record of whatever is said in your presence. As of November 2011, there is no product on the market that implements this technology without serious drawbacks. If you carry a visible recording device, you might very well be asked to turn it off. In some situations, you might be asked to empty your pockets; but in almost all cases, you cannot be forced to disrobe. Some effectively concealable devices are sold, but they send radio signals to a distant location for the actual recording. This makes them detectable by means of radio receivers. A strictly audio recording device that can be concealed under clothing is simply not available to the public.


      Some government offices still physically transport certain kinds of information because every publicly known encryption method that does not require occasional face-to-face meetings has been cracked. The need for truly secure email is obvious. Businesses need to keep secrets from their competitors and the government needs to keep secrets from enemies. There are legal services, psychological service, medical services and many other legitimate applications that do require or would be enhanced by secure communication. In the event that a truly secure and convenient method comes into existence, I would recommend that the users of such a method make messages available to law enforcement in the presence of a court order. In any case, destroying encrypted messages before they can be shared with law enforcement certainly distinguishes terrorists and criminals from the rest of us.


      Please feel free to write to me directly for more information or to make suggestions or comments. My email address is jim@futurebeacon.com. You can also go to my contact page to get my full contact information. Suggestions, questions, additional information and critiques are very welcome.