Hillary Didn't Backup, But You Should

03/30/2015 06:43 pm ET | Updated May 30, 2015


Wait a minute. Hillary erased all her email? On purpose?

Forget the logical, legal and/or political implications of her actions. From a purely technological point-of-view, in a world in which we are all deathly afraid of losing our files to some unforeseen digital disaster, who consciously completely clears two years of emails, forever?

The timing of Hillary's head-scratching email erasure are alternately apropos and inexplicable since March 31 is World Backup Day, a day dedicated to the promotion of making copies of your documents, photos and email for both safe-keeping and posterity.

Not only can't I fathom someone purposely erasing all/ their emails, regardless of what kind of work you do, but she didn't even back them up while she was in office? That's not old school. That's dumb.

It can't be a space issue. Her 55,000 emails probably came to around 10 GB, the digital memory equivalent of small change. Hillary, or her IT minions, could have backed up those emails onto a $50 portable hard drive in about the same amount of time it took to delete them -- probably less, and still had room to store 4K video copies of all her speeches and campaign videos from 2008 (using the new HEVC compression standard, of course).

If Hillary used an outside email service that caps storage space, I could understand selectively erasing, say, junk or marketing/sales emails. But all your own email generated in a government job from your own server? Not only is that madness, it's a giant waste of time and energy.

Hell, maybe she did back them up. And when Hillary's lawyer told the House Benghazi committee that the emails had been erased from her server, the committee assumed that meant no digital copies of the emails still exist at all. But maybe someone dragged-and-dropped the emails onto a thumb drive to be squirreled away in some secret safety deposit box. It would have taken maybe the time it takes you to read this rant to do this.

Backup alternatives

Again, I got no political dog in this hunt; I'm looking at this merely from an objective, if somewhat cynical, tech perspective. Personally, as far as my own digital files are concerned, I'm as paranoid as Richard Nixon, John Lennon concerning Richard Nixon's deportation efforts, and Jerry Fletcher, the obsessively suspicious cab driver played by Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory combined. In other words, I am a studious backer-upper.

All my digital files and photos are automatically backed up as I create and save them. I use Dropbox as my primary work document hard drive; via its desktop app, when you save a file, Dropbox stores and syncs the file on your hard drive and in the cloud -- automatic backup, clean and simple.

I also use Transporter, which I wrote about last World Backup Day, as my own personal cloud service for storing files, photos and movies. Somewhat similar to Dropbox, you can use one Transporter as your everyday hard drive. Any file you save is automatically mirrored/saved to a second Transporter drive connected and kept in a safe off-campus location. And since Transporter is your cloud, there's no annual subscription, which is always nice.

I also have a subscription to SugarSync -- everything I create on my desktop automatically gets upload to SugarSync for cloud storage. For me, SugarSync is the digital equivalent of throwing boxes up into the attic or into a storage space. One of these years I'm gonna go in there to clean up and organize. One of these years.

I also have Amazon Cloud Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Picasa photo accounts.

Like I said, paranoid.

Not only am I assured that everything I create on or save to my PC is stored in multiple virtual locations, I can access nearly anything digital of mine on any device from anywhere I am via an Internet connection, which is essentially everywhere in the civilized world (and even some not-so civilized locales).

Use this World Backup Day to make your own minimal backup effort -- even if it's just to buy a 1 or 2 TB portable hard drive and drag-and-drop the contents of your C drive (if you're on a Windows PC) on to it, or create an automatic Time Machine backup if you're on a Mac.

There is simply no excuse for losing any photo, file or email, accidentally or on even for political purpose.

If you need backing up advice, here's a handy instructional infographic from my friends at to help you out. - World Backup Day 2015

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