All Your RAM Are Belong to Us

By Deane Barker on June 17, 2007

TorrentSpy ruling puts your RAM on trial: This is fascinating. Apparently you can be forced to persist your RAM so it can be turned over in court proceedings.

In a decision reported late Friday by CNET, a federal judge in Los Angeles found that a computer server’s RAM, or random-access memory, is a tangible document that can be stored and must be turned over in a lawsuit.

If allowed to stand, the groundbreaking ruling may mean that anyone defending themselves in a civil suit could be required to turn over information in their computer’s RAM hardware, which could force companies and individuals to store vast amounts of data, say technology experts.

How would you even do this? RAM is ephemeral. Do you write it to disk every X number of minutes or something? When someone comes to you with a subpoena for your RAM, do they specify a time? And if that time is three weeks ago, how are you supposed to get that data unless you continually log all the contents in your RAM to persistent storage?



  1. Trends in legislation often have very little technical influence or merit. Look at this as a trend towards more logging, tracking, and surveilence… all the way down to the 1’s and 0’s that pass through your computer hardware… AT ALL LEVELS, not just RAM. Almost everything that is modernized use RAM in some capacity. They heading down a path that will ultimately lead to complete forfeiture of privacy down to the data paths between your graphics cards, networking cards, video.. sound… the list goes on. Unfortunately, my faith in the general public to realize the gravity of the situation is often shaken. You guys should look into how the US Gubbament tries to regulate producers of firewall and encryption products.. backdoor anyone?

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