It seemed like a familiar plot, someone publishes what they deem artistic, albeit offensive to Islam, Muslims get enraged, protests spread, so-called artists and their families go into hiding, embassies attacked, US and Israeli flags are burnt, dozens of protesters get killed, politicians urge calm, diplomatic crises erupt, handled and eventually resolved.
Amid the fallout over posting a trailer for the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” on YouTube, the White House requested that Google, the parent company of YouTube, remove it. Such a censorship request is troubling, certainly, and also absurd. Politics, religion and even free speech aside, it’s nearly impossible to permanently remove the film from YouTube or the internet.
The White House request to remove the trailer off YouTube seemed to spring from a genuine desire to take it off the Internet and put an end to the crisis. It’s yet another embarrassing demonstration of the lack of understanding of how the Internet works. Apparently, politicians sometimes have to be reminded of the clichéd adage: What happens online, stays online, forever.
Art by Sarolta Bán
Here are the main reasons that keep data we share online from ever being consigned to oblivion:
1. Screen capturing: This one is a classic, available since the early days of computers. It’s a snapshot of what appears on your screen, whether it’s a webpage or a Twitter message. This practical tool is available on all PC and mobile operating systems and goes by many names; screen capture, screen shot, screen grab, screen dump and print screen. You’ll frequently encounter its use in action as you read the news. Here’s an example: The official Facebook page of the Israeli embassy in Ireland shared a “Christmas thought“ with its fans saying that if Jesus was alive today, being a Jewish man, he’d be lynched by Palestinians. After an outcry, the anti-Palestinian Christmas message was deleted and they published an apology, but not before an embarrassing screenshot was taken by someone somewhere and was distributed between media outlets.
2. Copying/pasting and “Save image as…” are among the oldest tricks for Internet users … Read More