08 Jan Are digital documents currently more secure than physical ones? How about in the future?
I prefer to answer by sharing my personal experience. I believe it makes it more appealing
to the reader.
I own an e-ink reader,amazing device,keep hundreds of articles, long battery etc.
Last month my local library started sharing books online. I did enrol and also opened an
account with a third party that protects the ebooks from copying.
Its called Digital Rights Management. The library allows you to “own” the book for a specific
number of days. After the end of that period it expires and you cannot read it. It’s enough
time though to read the ebook.
I decided to see how long it would take me to remove the protection from the ebook. I did
know that it was possible, never done it myself.
So I downloaded a free ebook management software on my Mac, did a quick research and
found an extension for this software that claimed to remove the DRM.
All I had to do was to drag and drop the file on that software.
The book was mine to keep. So much of the DRM, I though. (it took me less than an hour).
I am still thinking whether to share that with my local library or not.
A client of ours wanted to know if they could remove the password from a document (that
was in a portable format) and change it’s content. We replied that it would be difficult to do
it and could destroy the format (to discourage them). However at the end of the day they
came back with the solution by themselves. They downloaded a free software and removed
the password. The document was an invoice, they wanted to increase the expense amount.
As of encrypted documents as of 2019 and depending on the algorithm used, they are
protected up to a point. Secret services will find a way to decrypt any document.
Personally I do not believe that digital documents are more secure than physical
ones. But we cannot do otherwise.
I just remembered a case back in the MS-DOS era, about a company where the computer
having the accounting software system was not even connected to the LAN. It was locked
inside a room and only a designated person was updating it under a strict policy. It looks like the
optimum protection on one hand but on the other imagine how little information could be
exchanged among departments.
As of my own eyes, I once developed an application for an organization that was collecting
information. They had two networks. One for the internet and one for their database system.
There was no physical connection between two networks. I guess you can understand why.
Wouldn’t it be nice to embed metadata in a biological or quantum state inside a document?
Disclaimer: We are against on stealing other people intellectual property. In the
end no one will be creating any content at all.