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Jun 8, 2011

Head in the Cloud(s)

A few weeks back I posted my thoughts on the Dropbox situation, and also stated a few of my thoughts on "The Cloud" in general. With the recent announcements by Apple as to IOS 5, this is even more relevant.

Now don't get me wrong. I am very excited about some of the features of IOS 5, some of the cloud functionality amongst the things I'm excited about. I love the idea of using the cloud to house my media (songs, photos, video) for playback regardless where I am. I also, to a degree, like the idea of doing the same with some of my documents. Notice how I said some. That's the kicker. Some information, I have no problem being out there hosted on some servers that I have no control over. However, some I very much do mind. Hopefully IOS 5 will be smart enough to allow me to pick and choose which information I want backed up, and which I do not.

Case in point: my resume: fly it away to the clouds, I say.
My taxes: No, so sorry. I'd prefer to be the sole non-government owner of that information.

My concerns here are both privacy and security minded. I believe what I've mentioned above should cover most of the privacy portion just fine. As for the rest, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out with regards to law enforcement. Personally I'm not worried about this one for myself, but certainly there will come a case where the police demand access to someone's slice of the cloud, whether or not justified. We should all be keeping an eye out to see what sort of precedents get set once that happens.

As for security, just to get it out of the way, let's not be silly. I have no delusions that whatever safeguards Apple will have in place won't look like Fort Knox compared to my tiny (but fairly solid) home network security. That being said, Apple is also a much larger target than myself.

I'm uneasy with the prospect of potentially sensitive information being stolen as part of a mass data breach. Obviously, if my home network is compromised the data is just as gone. However, as I just mentioned there's the concept of scope here. Outside of a virus or other malware that manages to slip through my scanners, someone targeting me would need to actually target me. That probably means that somewhere down the line I pissed off someone I shouldn't have. That's kind of on my head. Outside of that, I have some relative security through the obscurity of just being another pc in my neighborhood. In short, I don't stay up most nights worrying about hackers brute-force attacking me. Whatever encryption and other security Apple or other tenders of the Cloud have in place, they're going to be major targets and I for one would prefer to not have my deepest darkest secrets just lying around in the Cloud should another Sony PSN debacle come about.

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