The deleting process of ephemeral messages is complex. Ephemeral means anything that can survive for only a short period of time. Websites that offer this service of self-destructing messages claim that these private notes disappear forever, with absolutely no trace anywhere. There is no trace on the sender, the receiver as well as on the website or app from which the private note was sent.
Now how the message is getting removed, whether it’s getting wiped, or shredded or erased or deleted, there are differences between all these four terms. Let’s understand what these terms mean.
When we use the word delete, which is a lot, the file, or the message, is actually still there, it is just hidden from us. The actual data is still there but the space it was occupying in the system gets freed up, to store more new data. Sometimes these items get removed to the recycle bin, which many individuals might not be aware of, until they actually remove the file from the recycle bin permanently. Messages of files that have been deleted can actually be easily retrieved by the person using data retrieval software, available online. Hence, deleting anything, actually makes it really hard to find, but does not remove it completely.
Erasing means deleting a file or a private note, completely, and it can never be retrieved back. Erasing can be done by two ways-wiping or scrubbing. There is software that wipes or scrub messages. They either destroy the device on which it is stored physically or disrupt the magnetic field of that device. Erasing any data makes it impossible to get it back again.
Next comes wiping. When we wipe the data on a device, every data that was stored on that device gets wiped completely. Even files or messages that were previously deleted get wiped out. There are programs available, which are known as data destruction software. Using this software, every file can be permanently wiped out from the drive, not just one single folder, or note.
Shredding means permanently erasing certain selected files or messages. Shredding software can be installed on the laptop or desktop and whenever necessary, the folders that need to be completely erased are dragged into the program, and it starts shredding the data.
Now the difference is cleared, what is the type of removal done for self-destructive messages. These notes are erased. So when a private note is typed and sent, the website erases every copy on each machine, whichever the note passes. Some apps don’t allow screenshots to be taken off the note.
Nothing can be guaranteed 100%. However, with the rise of hacking and invasion of privacy, it is always good to take precautionary measures. Apps like Privnote, Confide, Wickr, provide extra layers of guarantee that privacy will be protected. Self destructing or ephemeral messages give privacy that is close to 100%. Messages getting erased automatically and instantly after it is read, does give the person more assurance that his message will not be read by a third party.
Hence, it is better to have these extra layers of security to avoid any accidents and embarrassments, in a world where privacy can never be guaranteed.