I had a colleague once whose emails seethed with such exquisite vituperation that new ones would get passed around the office so we could admire her wordcraft. She wasn’t the happiest woman in the world and when she got behind the keyboard, look out!

If you just can’t resist saying what is better left unsaid
Persistent storage enables civilization, so what are we to make of an application that disables persistance? Barbarity enabling? Reasoning by analogy has its limits and we may have just found one. I can see why one might want recordless communication for reasons both good and ill.

Introducing Vaporstream recordless communication
Combining chat and email, Vaporstream is a web-based communications system designed to ensure privacy and “eyes-only” security. Logging into Vaporstream through a browser, you type in a recipient’s email address and then start typing your message.

As soon as you start typing the message, the recipient’s name disappears, so you need a better memory than I have to complete the message. The process is reversed on the receiving end, where the sender’s name shows up until the message appears. Since the names are divorced from the content there is no record of who sent what to who.

Great for chatting up the hottie in marcom?
Both sender and receiver need subscriptions to the Vaporstream service, about $40 a year, so unless the marcom hottie is a subscriber you’ll have to choose less secure communications.

Confidential electronic communication
Vaporstream quotes security guru Bruce Schneier

The right to do things while not being watched is very fundamental to humanity, whether we sing in the shower or have private conversations with friends. If we are constantly under gaze, we can’t experiment as human beings. When we know we’re being watched, our lives are altered, even if we’re doing nothing wrong.
– Bruce Schneier, Security expert and author of Crypto-Gram
Dig. Boston’s Weekly, Issue 8.24, June 14, 2006

Bruce has a point. There are times and topics that don’t need a need a record, where a permanent record has a chilling effect on free and open discussion. HR, corporate strategy and investment and budget discussions are all sensitive area that benefit from a full airing without threat of a half-complete thought being used against a participant.

The StorageMojo take
Vaporstream is a product whose anti-storage message reminds us why massive storage is both a blessing and a curse. Records management professionals are rightly concerned with its potential for abuse and the loss of what could be valuable business records. Yet the fact that it is a subscription service and not available to all helps ensure it will be used primarily for business purposes.

Just because it might be used for, say, anti-trust conspiracies, is no reason to outlaw it for everyone. If there are problems with Vaporstream they are PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard) in origin, like so many others in life.

Comments welcome, as always. Moderation turned on to deter, in part, the huge wave of Italian language spam coming in.