Sunday, May 5, 2013

Data, data. Who's got the data?

Not only do you not own your data, you don't want to.

It was while wearing my peril-sensitive sunglasses that I understood the current consumer trend toward privacy being SEP (Somebody Else's Problem).

When I put on my sunglasses, or specifically, the Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses, they were already black. I moved to another room, yet still the lenses remained totally darkened. I removed them and saw no tiger nor vampire nor Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

It took that instance to make me realize that my temporary blindness caused by my glasses was directly related to the constant peril that is all around me. But what was it that was so potentially perilous?

After some experimentation, my current theory is that it's "the cloud."

Cloud Computing isn't that scary in small bits, such as your email account. But the cloud as the standard delivery model for all computer services is what is terrifying. But that is what consumers, what you (and I), have already chosen.

So let me explain the horror since you obviously can't, or you choose not to, see it.

The cloud is like having a bank account. You put something somewhere, in this case money in a bank, and the bank sends that money off as loans to individuals, other banks, etc. The money is gone. It only exists as data that shows how much money you should be able to withdraw if the bank had that cash on hand. But really, the money is both gone and not gone. You never know whether there is any money at all in your bank. But to keep everyone from freaking out, the FDIC guarantees your money is somewhere and you should be able to get it back if something happened to the bank.

But what about other cloud products? What about email? Is it safe? This is probably the first cloud product each of us had. There isn't much you can do without an email account.

But have you ever lost access to an email account? I see someone every week who loses access to his email because he forgot his password or forgot security questions or didn't set up an alternate email. Does anyone insure this access? No. When the cloud fails, there is no backup. I guess you could export everything someplace else, but who does that?

In order for the cloud to function, you need to trust it completely. Give it access to all your other cloud accounts and let it back up your terrestrial data.

And once that happens, is your data still your data? What are the terms of service for all these clouds?

When everything is on your phone and each app on that phone is tied to a different cloud service, what happens to all your data? What do they do with it (them)? And WHO are THEY? Isn't it easier to just let them have your data and do whatever the hell they want? 

Do you really want to know? I mean, do you really really really want to know?

Of course not. And the sunglasses go black.

all italicized references copyright Douglas Adams, RIP.

1 comment:

  1. Most cloud services now do have some type of backup available, like Google Drive or Dropbox-type feature where the data is on both your personal device and the cloud. We shall see if the world changes or if everything is bowled over by intergalactic bulldozers.