Hey, you, get off of the Cloud

With all of the problems that have arisen with cloud service providers lately, can we really trust the cloud anymore?

OK, I'm ranting again.

Last year, I wrote an article on the pros and cons of keeping your data in the cloud. The benefits are obvious; your data is centrally located and you can access it from anywhere there is available internet access. The drawback, of course, is that you can't be sure your data is private, and if the service goes down your data is inaccessible.

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Recently there's been a spate of bad news for the cloud. In April, Amazon suffered a major outage in its web services division, taking numerous popular websites offline.

Last week, cloud storage provider Dropbox found itself under fire for allegedly lying about the security of customer data. The fact that they changed their claims about data security several times, including employee access to supposedly encrypted customer data, reveals a major problem in their security promises.

Last year I also wrote about protecting your personal data, including a section of an article dealing directly with cloud access. There are a lot of people out on the internet whose primary goal is to get access to your personal data for monetary gain. And if you live in a country where you are entitled to certain freedoms, it's illegal for the government to go snooping through your personal data without a warrant.

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It's really time we reconsidered cloud altogether. I really do like the idea of being able to access my data from anywhere. But I am having a lot of trouble reconciling that with the failures and lack of security from the cloud services providers we're expected to trust. The hell with that. I don't trust them anymore.

What we really need right now is a ramping up of the capsule data hotel, which Jason Perlow and I offered in our Project Blade Runner articles. We proposed that you could have access to your home data while abroad through a secure web interface, and also be able to rent space in a data hotel at a FedEd-Kinko's shop, where a small, dedicated hardware server would reside in a space the size of a PO box.

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I trust myself a lot more than I trust the cloud services. If something goes wrong, at least it's through a mistake I made, not because the cloud service provider was negligent, or deliberately lied about the access they had to my encrypted data. Unless I have broken some law and there is a warrant to access my personal data, the only person that should have discretion about who accesses it is me.