US scientists find ways to make electronic data self destruct | world | Hindustan Times
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US scientists find ways to make electronic data self destruct

Worried that the college binge drinking photos posted on the internet will reappear to haunt during a job interview? Cheer up. Researchers have found a method that makes electronic data self destruct itself.

world Updated: Jul 23, 2009 17:01 IST

Worried that the college binge drinking photos posted on the internet will reappear to haunt during a job interview? Cheer up. Researchers have found a method that makes electronic data self destruct itself.

University of Washington researchers has developed a way to make electronic communications such as e-mail, Facebook posts and chat messages automatically self-destruct, becoming irretrievable from all Web sites, inboxes, outboxes, backup sites and home computers.

The prototype system called ‘Vanish´ places a time limit on text uploaded to any Web service through a Web browser. After a set time text written will self-destruct.

Even the sender could not be able to retrieve them.

“If you care about privacy, the Internet today is a very scary place,” said Tadayoshi Kohno, a UW assistant professor of computer science. “If people understood the implications of where and how their e-mail is stored, they might be more careful or not use it as often.”

Computers have made it virtually impossible to leave the past behind with people inadvertently uploading data they find embarrassing later, he said.

The paper about the project will be presented at the Usenix Security Symposium August 10-14 in Montreal.