The Infinite Library

Storage and Access of Pornographic Information

Rose White

Playlists: '25c3' videos starting here / audio / related events

Decades ago, Jorge Luis Borges wrote about infinite libraries and perfect memory with the slightly sad air of someone who'd seen those things and knew their faults. Today we work toward infinite libraries and perfect memory with little heed for the possible consequences. How could it be bad to have everything possible stored? To remember everything? I don't know that it will be bad, but I do know that it will be different from our current lives of loss and forgetting. Right now, storing pornography causes problems even for people who have nothing especially perverted to hide: A collection of pornography gets to the heart of what it means to be a private individual. As we move from mass media to individually produced media, from edited collections of porn (magazines, commercially produced films) to individual snapshots and youtube clips and stored bittorrents, the particularity of a collection of porn will be testimony to its owner's private set of tastes.