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is there is way(s/w) to delete or automatically corrupt a file(.txt,.exe,.avi.....etc) if i gave that file to someone(other system) after the time specified or set by me?

platform: windows , Linux

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do you work for the RIAA??? kidding. Is this for a particular OS? Otherwise, it would need to be enforced by the reading program. – Stephen Jun 16 '10 at 3:21
i need it for both windows and Linux – blackjack Jun 16 '10 at 5:06
Gotta say, I don't like the idea much :-) – nik Jun 16 '10 at 5:52
Somehow reminds me of another past question here about knowing when your e-mail was opened/read by the recipient. It is about crossing lines -- that should be avoided. If you'd rather not have them access a resource after 2 day, reach an agreement to that effect and do it with their knowledge (so a viewer application that the recipient agrees to use with this knowledge is a good idea). – nik Jun 16 '10 at 5:57

If a file can be opened and read, it's going to be nigh impossible to prevent the end user from making a copy of it. What would prevent the user from, say, copying and pasting from the self-destructing file into a backup copy? Or printing out the text and scanning it back in? This is the same reason why DRM cannot protect music files with 100% certainty: if the music can be played, then at the very least someone can set up a microphone and re-record the audio.

However, there is a research project called Vanish which aims to make data which can "self-destruct" in the sense that it can no longer be decrypted after some point in time. However, if the text is decoded within the allowed time period, nothing prevents the end user from copying the unencrypted text into a new file. Therefore, Vanish isn't designed for restricting the end user. Instead, its goal is to make it impossible for someone to coerce you into decrypting incriminating data (since the key necessary for decryption is no longer available.

Since Vanish is still a research project and proof-of-concept, the tools provided are still fairly basic, but there is a console program for encoding files and a Firefox plug-in which can help you encrypt and decrypt blocks of text.

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No. Unless the reader of that file must launch some application ahead of time or have said application (let's call it EvilDeleter) running, absolutely not.

You could always pack the file into some program that launches the appropriate application and passes via standard input to the application, with the intention to making the data inaccessible after a period of time.


There is no program I can find that automatically does what you want. However, by looking at shar(1) [], you can see that simply writing a program and adding the binary output of your "locked" file into the program is simple.


x=open(file, 'b')

--- in program after you've put data into it --

 os.system('vlc.exe tempfile')

There you go - you just dumped your file binary into a temporary file and opened it.

Mind you, this is the most basic example. You can do it in any language.

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"You could always pack the file into some program " can u pls give me name of that some program for this purpose? – blackjack Jun 16 '10 at 5:05
Because this is such an simple program to make, I doubt someone has made some application just for this purpose. – Ben Jun 16 '10 at 5:56

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