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Of course JSON is encoded in Unicode, making it "text," but when it is said that text is the universal protocol of Unix, it means that the only guarantee a well-behaving Unix utility can make is that it will output ASCII. You cannot leverage the further structure of JSON or any other protocol because utilities that interpret JSON do not compose with those many Unix utilities which emit non-JSON data.

Only entropic bits are truly "unstructured data." The question is one of how much semantic structure you can rely on in the data you are processing, which is a continuum.

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