Editors' note: This is a guest column. See Larry Downes' bio below.
In "1984," George Orwell's classic dystopian novel, protagonist Winston Smith is a low-level bureaucrat in the Ministry of Truth. His job: to "rectify" old newspaper articles in which Big Brother's predictions or promises turned out to be false. Once the articles are rewritten, the original text--and the truth they represent--is dropped down a pneumatic tube known as a memory hole, "to be devoured by the flames."
The European Commission has recently proposed a real-life version of this fictional device, though … Read more