Web-based computing: With a snoopy gov't, where is your data safest from inquisition?

Web-based computing: With a snoopy gov't, where is your data safest from inquisition?

Summary: OK, I've heard a lot a interesting arguments against the idea of moving more in the direction of browser-based computing (even though more and more people are taking delivery of their application functionality through their browsers and from application service providers every day).  But most of them I believe are resolvable.

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TOPICS: Big Data
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OK, I've heard a lot a interesting arguments against the idea of moving more in the direction of browser-based computing (even though more and more people are taking delivery of their application functionality through their browsers and from application service providers every day).  But most of them I believe are resolvable.  But there's one that was raised yesterday by a ZDNet reader that raises a very fair point that I don't have the answer to.  Wrote Ken (in response to my piece on Google Browser Sync):

With the government apparently having the ability to scarf up private data without a warrant, or reasonable cause or even a hearing before a judge, I don't want google or yahoo or anyone else storing one byte of data on me that they don't absolutely have to. For this reason I use yahoo and gmail as a last resort. I'm a libertarian political activist (unloved by the government) and gay (unloved by the government) and a Second Amendment activist (unloved by the government). They can surely track my online life if they try but I have no plans to make it easy for them.

So, here's the question.  Let's say the only thing standing between the government and your data is your data custodian and your data custodian's lawyers.  Who would rather have in those positions?  You as the data custodian and your lawyers?  Or some ASP as the data custodian and its lawyers.  The latter of course only applies if (a) the government asks first before snooping (something it historically hasn't always done, especially recently) and (b) even if the government asks, that doesn't necessarily mean the ASP won't cave without ever bringing its lawyers into play.  I have nothing to hide.  But then again, moving to a world where everyone's data is readily accessible through the ASPs they've selected is a slippery slope to get on.  Tough questions.

Topic: Big Data

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3 comments
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  • You have plenty to hide

    Social security number. Mother's maiden name. Birth date. Full name. Address. Credit card numbers. And so forth.

    Given the inability of the government to maintain the security of electronic data (DOE, VA, etc.), the likelihood of this data being "secure" in a government computer seems to be frightenly small.
    hobbitt
  • Like it will make a difference

    I read more often of the FBI showing up in the middle of the night and carrying off all the computer stuff they can find. Then they can, at their leisure, examine EVERYTHING on your computer.
    kgburton
  • bottom line-- I want control

    You imply the argument that a company's lawyers would be standing in the way of the government? Kind of like Yahoo and MS's lawyers? Or do you mean Google's lawyers?

    I don't trust anyone but myself-- period. The problem with people putting their data with a host is that little clause of infinite deceit included in most ToS that people agree to:

    "<service here> reserves the right to change these terms with or without notice"

    ...would you trust a friend that said, "hey, I can change my mind at any point and tell everyone your secrets without telling you first?"
    kckn4fun