EMC has just released a white paper (which it sponsored, but which was developed by IDC) titled The Diverse and Exploding Digital Universe.

The white paper provides some eye-opening and thought provoking data points about our increasingly cluttered digital environs.

Some key data points from the report:

  • The digital universe in 2007 — at 2.25 x 1021 bits (281 exabytes or 281 billion gigabytes) — was 10% bigger than initially thought.
    The resizing comes as a result of faster growth in cameras, digital TV shipments, and better understanding of information
  • By 2011, the digital universe will be 10 times the size it was in 2006.

More concerning is the notion that each user has a ‘digital shadow’:

Of that portion of the digital universe created by individuals, less than half can be accounted for by user activities — pictures taken, phone calls made, emails sent — while the rest constitutes a digital “shadow” — surveillance photos, Web search histories, financial transaction journals, mailing lists, and so on.

It’s a brief report (16 pages) and well worth reviewing.