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Secure and Robust Digital Archive Over Peer to Peer Networks

25 March 2013


William Mayor

Can peer-to-peer protocols be used to form scalable, reliable and efficient digital archive systems? Worldwide digital data production rates are said to have surpassed 61 terabytes a second in 2011. With such a vast and accelerating output rate, digital archiving becomes a growing concern. Some estimates say that current storage capacity limits mean losing more than 35% of this data. Further to this, any archive solution needs to deal with issues of availability, reliability, efficiency and authorship. I propose to look at the application of peer-to-peer protocols in solving these issues. I hope to determine to what extent peer-to-peer, distributed storage can provide a secure and reliable archiving facility. By looking towards a shared model of data storage I hope to mitigate technological issues of storage medium upgrades, centralised storage weaknesses, and excessive, focused bandwidth requirements. However, introducing this model potentially creates new security concerns including: user participation, unauthorised data access or modification, and reduced reliability. Care needs to be taken to ensure that any future digital archive solution is fit for purpose. Digital archive requirements are likely to be distinct from current requirements of personal data backup or even relatively short-term archiving of business records or government data. A true solution to the problems of digital archive will ensure the continued access to the world's data, one, one hundred or one thousand years into the future.