The chance that I’ll ever use this information is next to zero, but I keep it around because, well, I can. The relentless decline in the cost of storage has made it cheaper to retain information than to throw it away. That plays well to the human propensity for keeping stuff around, a hoarding instinct that has made the US self-storage industry a $40 billion business.
Hoarding isn’t such a good idea when it comes to data, however. If I were working for a corporation and some California residents I interviewed in 2006 exercised their legal right to be forgotten, my company could be on the hook for my pack-rat behavior.
“Human beings don’t like to delete stuff,” said Bill Tolson, vice president of global compliance and e-discovery, Archive360, a data migration, and management company.