Firstly, sorry if this is a very specific question.

I am trying to translate A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace and I stuck at this phrase "bit-bearing":

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Unfortunately I couldn't find anything using Google but one similar question at this site. From the answer in at the link, I assume it means “media which uphold or to some extent control the way the bits operates”.


  • 1
    My first instinct is to say that it means guided by a bit and reins, like a horse.
    – Anonym
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 19:02
  • 3
    Cyberspace is all about computers and computes think in bits. These bits (i.e., information) will soon be arriving in all types of media and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to prevent this information from leaking in no matter how hard you try to prevent it.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 19:17
  • Interesting -- A professional programmer and computer engineer for over 40 years and I never heard that idiom before.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 3:35
  • (In the US, at least, it would normally have been "... will soon be blanketed in digital media.")
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 4:09
  • (But, given that this is an excerpt from a longer treatise on the topic, I'm guessing that the author had worn out "digital media" and was looking for a "fresh" term.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


In my dialect of English this would refer to media that is predominantly digital (bit-bearing) as opposed to predominantly printed.

  • 3
    I've no doubt that's what the writer meant, but in my dialect of English it sounds really daft. Would anyone describe printed material (books, magazines, etc.) as letter-, word-, or ink-bearing media? Or pre-digital films as celluloid-bearing? Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 20:04
  • @Fumble The digital small press is the bitty media then, eh :)
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 20:18
  • @tchrist: Indeed - those small independents would be the ones the global players routinely take [shark-]byte-sized chunks out of. Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 20:37
  • @Fumblefingers; your examples of letters and ink are apt, but the "celluloid" one is backwards, the celluloid bears the images; it is more analogous to paper. Movies were previously "celluloid-borne". Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 13:52
  • @Brian: I guess you're right - I was carelessly thinking along the lines of the magnetic coating on the polymer base of an audio tape (which in principle could be called magnet-bearing media, except in practice it's not). Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 14:04

Bit-bearing in this context means bit-carrying. The media is digital—that is it carries information in the form of bits (Binary digITS - 1s and 0s).

Similar expressions: a water-bearing river, gold-bearing rock.

  • But it "bit-bearing" is a rather odd and obscure stand-in for "digital".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 4:11
  • I take it as an attempt to be somewhat literary. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 4:13
  • I take it to be more illiterary.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 4:15
  • Maybe — it doesn't sound that strange to me, although semantically, I'd think a better rendering would be media-bearing bits—because bits carry the information, the information doesn't carry the bits. The wires, however, really do carry the bits. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 19:05

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