09 March 2014


woodblock print (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (152.4 x 152.4 mm)
5 layers of color plus blind emboss on Kochi Kozo paper
edition: 20

Lifesaver is a technique used by the NSA to read (or to image) computer hard drives. I'm not sure how the program got the name* Lifesaver, but there are a couple of interesting things that come up if you google the word. There's actually a data recovery product called EASIS Data Recovery that was formerly called LifeSaver. It's possible that the NSA software was developed from this commercial product. Or more cynically, if you google the words lifesaver, image and hard drive you get testimonials from customers of various commercial data recovery tools speaking about the products as being "lifesavers" for their serious hard drive problems. It's easy for me to imagine a bunch of NSA geeks thinking it would be funny to name their hard drive spy software lifesaver.

So I thought it would be funny to toss the NSA a lifesaver from the Titanic. The agency must have a sinking feeling right about now, as the Snowden revelations continue to ripple out into the world.
*MORE ON NAMING: This article from the Washington Post claims that most of the NSA’s code names are no more than computer-generated sequences of words. If that's true, then my little exercise in finding meaning in these words is an even more quixotic venture than I thought it was.

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