Cloud: Where some see slavery, minorities see freedom

Cloud: Where some see slavery, minorities see freedom

Summary: Many of you shared your fears of being enslaved to the Cloud. But groups who have traditionally been on the disadvantaged side of the digital divide are already using it to gain their respective freedoms.


Ok, I get it. No, really, I do. A vocal bunch of you have made it abundantly clear to me that you are afraid of the Cloud because you'll lose your individuality and you don't want to pay for subscriber services.

You'll never move to it because you have too much personal data to move, you'll never trust it due to security concerns, and it will never work for you because you're still using 56K dialup or worse, IP over Avian Carrier protocol or smoke signalling.


Yeah, whatever. You're still going to be assimilated. Have a nice day. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

Despite all this thrashing about there is a group of people who don't have these kinds of concerns, and have been eagerly joining the Cloud Continuum faster than any other demographic. 

I'm talking about minority groups. Especially Hispanics and Latinos. Tiene mucho amor por el Cloud.

While all of you have been doing your bitching and complaining about the Cloud, this group of people, who have traditionally been on the disadvantaged side of the digital divide, are now reaching parity with the privileged. 

How do I define privileged? Oh, I dunno. You can probably afford to own a PC and pay for basic residential broadband. And you're probably White.

A new study, released in March 2013 by the Pew Hispanic Research Center has determined that in a short three years, the gap between Whites and Hispanic use of of the Internet in the United States has closed by half.

Three years ago only 64 percent of Hispanics used the Internet as opposed to 72 percent of African Americans and 80 percent of Whites.

In 2012, Hispanics matched African Americans in usage at 78 percent, while Whites slightly increased to 87 percent. 

Latinos primarily depend on their mobile devices, rather than desktop and laptop computers when accessing the Internet. 76 percent, versus 60 percent of White Americans.

As we dig even further into the study's data, we learn that nearly half of Latino adults live in Cellphone-only households, and that smartphone adoption can be correlated with age. More specifically those Latinos between ages of 18 to 29 are much more likely to own a smartphone than those ages 65 and older.

So it's the younger generation of Latinos that is really adopting smartphone technology. 

Cloud adoption has been linked to the use of Mobile devices, particulary in BYOD scenarios. There's no question about that. As the younger generation of Latinos attain higher levels of education, and as they enter the workforce, they will gain more affluence and buy things like tablets.

And with that entering of the workforce, they will bring their preferences of using Cloud services such as email and social networking, among other types of services they are adopting, including mobile apps and also subscriber services.

But the bottom line is, you don't need to own a PC and have residential broadband to reach information parity with the rest of the world anymore.

Another interesting factoid: Latinos using services like Facebook and Twitter from their mobile devices are primarily doing it in English. So if anything their devices are improving their integration into mainstream American society.

So maybe it's not the Cloud so much that scares the hell out of some folks, but that large groups of people who were previously left behind and out of sight and out of mind in the digital divide will now have access to many if not all of the same online resources as everyone else, with cheap smartphones and tablets, cheap carrier data plans and ubiquitous Wi-Fi in public locations.

Perhaps you don't hate the Cloud so much that you hate the idea that minorities are going to ruin your digital neighborhood. 

Cheap access to technology that was previously prohibitively expensive to large groups of people has always proven to level the playing field between the advantaged and disadvantaged.

Cloud, combined with ongoing industry disruption that has been caused by the increased popularity of low-cost mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will continue this trend, well into the future.

And some of you may not like this. But I for one embrace my Latino brothers and sisters in the Cloud Continuum.

Vive El Cloud! Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: Cloud, Networking, Smartphones, Tablets


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • Then they can use it

    My preference remains to keep direct custody of my personal data. If others make different choices, I have no objection.
    John L. Ries
  • Race baiting - right at the headline level, no less...

    Don't waste peoples' time.

    Especially as this "article" does nothing more than obfuscate while baiting.

    Let's elevate people with ownership - not drive everyone down to relying on some third party we have zero control over, and let's not forget trust has to be earned. Most terms of service agreements pretty much say "by using us, you give us a royalty-free copy of your goods for us to use" and try to hawk it that our original item remains ours. But how much value is ours the moment they use their size and clout to use their copy? That's right - our original property goes down to 0% value.

    A free country means we have rights of individualism. It's ironic as I am fine with socialism to an extent (even corporate welfare), but what the Cloud demands could very easily be well beyond what's reasonable, and it all boils down to what's in the terms of use 'agreement'. Especially if we have no effective choice but to agree.
    • Perplexed by Perlow

      You're correct, Hypno; it IS race-baiting, and disturbing that ZDnet has published it.
      -Perlow reminds me of a particular relative who when she does NOT know why someone responded in a particular way she INVARIABLY manufactures the stinkiest defaming false accusation (LIE) that she can think of to smear the motivations of the person she does not understand. In her world, her lying-false-accusation becomes perfectly true to her, because after all she said it, and therefore it is true; in spite of her life-long 90-year record of continual false accusations.
      Paul B. Wordman
    • cloud of huffyweed

      nice reply...

      "Jason is currently a Technology Solution Professional with Microsoft Corp."

      'nuff said.

      The worrying aspect is that these dudes think that strategies such as spin pieces like this are clever and will work...
      It is like some master strategists back at HQ have being huffing the believeAweed between shots of koolaide and achieved a critical mass consensus of the right sorta people self affirming the right sorta tactics.

      This sort of thinking looks like it emanated as the product of a cloud... of self reinforcing hype.

      How long for MS?
  • Still not getting it

    "Ok, I get it. No, really, I do. A vocal bunch of you have made it abundantly clear to me that you are afraid of the Cloud because you'll lose your individuality and you don't want to pay for subscriber services."

    That's not it. If you can't understand why people dislike the cloud after all this time, your hopeless. I will, however, point you in the direction of this article.

    Oh, and some of us are human, and have p**n on our hard drives. No cloud server allows that. Not skydrive, not google drive, not dropbox, not box.
    • Oh, and I'm latino (going off to college this fall)

      "I'm talking about minority groups. Especially Hispanics and Latinos. Tiene mucho amor por el Cloud."

      And I call rubbish (stupid zdnet wouldn't let me use the word I was planning to use). The farthest anyone in my family uses the "cloud" is iCloud for there iTunes account. The cloud isn't taking the world by storm, the cloud is seen as a redundancy fail safe.
      • When you go to school

        You may wish to be a bit more humble. And you should consider yourself lucky you're getting an education, whether your parents are paying for it or not.
        • Sorry if I sounded rude

          But I'm tired of people trying to use the minority card. It get's old, ya know? :/

          Either way, I see you're point, and I'm sorry. -hug-
          • Don't worry about it

            When I was 18, I was just as arrogant. I only got worse as I got older :)
          • are you still 18?

            "Perhaps you don't hate the Cloud so much that you hate the idea that minorities are going to ruin your digital neighborhood. "

            Dismissing anyone who hasn't embraced the cloud as racist seems pretty arrogant to me.
          • don't back down to this muppet!

            get up him for the rent!!!

            stop begging for what you need and start taking what you want
        • if you pay tax

          then you should get an education, and your kids too.

          viva la SOCIAL Revolucion!!!!
  • I'm Black.

    And anti-cloud. Try harder. Now who's paying you to evangelize for the cloud boondoggle?
    • No problem

      When there's a research study that shows how African-Americans have similar adoption rates to Latinos (and the Pew study already shows this) to using mobile technology and using it as their primary Internet access method, I'll be sure to post an update.
    • Race doesn't matter -- you are marginal

      I suppose you are a minority among minorities (is that a recognized subclass? An uber-minority?). The anecdotal blustering of the lunatic fringe (aka ZDNet posters) is what Perlow keeps talking about...the vast majority doesn't share your personal concerns, and hasn't probably ever.

      Keep in mind that watching industry trends is Perlow's job. "Don't shoot the messenger" comes to mind...he is merely reporting on what is happening on a broad scale. Every time a new technology paradigm arrives and there is an inexorable movement toward that technology, there is a small percentage of those, usually geeks heavily invested in the status-quo or otherwise change-adverse, who will complain kicking and screaming the whole way. Ask yourself, "is this me?" and then decide if you're okay with that. Meanwhile, the Borg don't never did. It will do what it will do. In the Borg, no one can hear your screams.
      • Wrong

        If you had been taught actual American history in school, you would be aware that personal privacy and personal sovereignty have been concerns of Americans since the creation of the nation.

        Perlow is not merely reporting... he's drawing conclusions based upon his own racist (and progressive) vision of the world.
  • Also man... I don't get this whole cloud liberates minorities crap.

    There exists a digital divide where tech is concerned... True enough. But the cloud isn't "The" answer or even "an" answer. If a person doesn't have the cloud, they need a PC and an internet connection. Preferably high speed internet. If a person has cloud services they need some other device and an internet connection. Cloud enabled mobile devices are not appreciably cheaper than PC's. Especially when a desktop can be obtained for less than 400 dollars. The problem is the data connection. Availability and cost. I fail to see how the cloud fixes that.
    • the only true minority in the internet

      are the sane people. the rest majority deserves their cloud
    • cloud liberates minorities ....

      .... by data mining their personal information.
    • I concede your premise

      but would also like to point out that many private providers offers specially priced services for the poor: