It’s your cloud, or is it?

Call me paranoid but I’m that person who rips off and shreds the address and name label off of every package or piece of mail I receive. So what if the movie Identity Thief actually had a happy and endearing ending? No one has the time to drive cross-country to single-handedly, with no police assistance, catch a psychopath who keeps using your credit card.

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Anyways, what I’m getting at is the relatively new service of cloud storage sites and their questionable intellectual safety. Large corporations like Google, Apple, and Amazon offer it, as is the focus of this very recent article. My concern with the service resolves around the privacy aspect of it that will inevitably be called into question, and sooner or later into a court of law. Apple, Amazon, and Google are large enough corporations to have put into place high-level security checks to prevent against identity theft and the like. However, despite the underlying security measures that these companies undoubtedly implemented, innovative technology is prone to having numerous flaws and loopholes, especially in its early stages.

We haven’t talked about this in class (yet) but I firmly believe that advances in technology are blending the line between what is private and what is public. They tell you not to post anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want your future employee to see, or be tagged in any weekend photos you don’t want grandma to stumble upon. Sure, it might be convenient to click one button and share an entire album of your Yorkie puppy with 800 of your closest friends and to access your history essay on every Apple product you own, but in all actuality, is it worth it? With the right knowledge, anything on the Internet can be dug up, even if it was previously “deleted.” That’s a lot of regretful Instagram pics. Files are uploaded onto a cloud to be saved for personal use, but the internet is nonetheless public and relatively easily accessible to everyone. In addition to over-sharing, there is also the issue of theft that must be taken into consideration. Even with preventative measures, it just still doesn’t seem like the safest way to store important documents.

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This could be the best defense technique for everything? 

Bottom line is, use at your own caution and be sure to do your research about the providers’ user agreements and policies, especially if it’s not the most well known company. Despite all the fancy new ways to chat with your best friend studying abroad in Australia, or the existence of wifi literally everywhere, always treat your blog posts like your grandmother will be reading it.

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11 thoughts on “It’s your cloud, or is it?

  1. I believe that this is very true, the line between what is private and what is public is very thin. Once something is online, there is no turning back. Oh the double-edge sword. It is good to have cloud to back up data and things you cherish. I was in the apple store in NYC and I saw a woman replacing her Iphone 5 and was scared to lose all her photo. Luckily (or rather unluckily), her photos are on icloud and she was able to download them back on to her new Iphone. The internet is a powerful tool. Like all tools, it can be used for good and evil. There is no way around it. It is ultimately up to us to use or not use the tool.

  2. I think privacy is becoming a thing of the past. Similar to George’s comment, I recently had my iPhone replaced. I have my iPhone backed up on my computer, but I was still able to set it up at the Apple store for temporary use (which included my contact list!). Its a bit unnerving that all of the information I have stored about friends, such as addresses and phone numbers, is somewhere in cyberspace. That being said, I do not believe fear should hold the expansion of technology back. I absolutely believe that the human race should proceed with caution, but lets proceed none the less. Cloud computing is a powerful tool that can drastically increase computing power. I’m led to believe that my information is being safeguarded, even if I don’t understand how.

  3. I can see how the privacy of information on the cloud is a concern, and you are probably not alone in your thought. However, I worked at a company called UniData & Communications Inc. for the past two summers, and we host QuickBooks on the cloud. Basically we host all of the financial for a lot of big companies, including Subway, and it is all secure and can only accessed by the user. Since we host all of this financial information, it stands to reason that we take more security measures than a lot of companies out there, but for most cloud websites or companies security is still their top priority. The advantages to using the cloud to create efficient business practices outweigh the fear and extremely slim chances of having someone access your information through a hosting company or website.

  4. I like the way you began the article with something a lot of people can relate to. This automatically drew my attention and made me want to read more. You also did a great job embedding articles, I wonder how do you do that? I believe internet privacy is a real issue and there is going to be much arising litigation about it. I don’t think employers should have access to your facebook account. I want the things I put online to be private, but they simply aren’t. There needs to be some more regulation and protection of online information for everyone’s sake.

  5. The issue of security on the internet didn’t faze me all too much until an experience just the other day while ordering something from Amazon. I usually select the “remember me” icon for logging in and out of sites, so that I don’t have to remember a ton of different login accounts and passwords; this was the case for my Amazon account as well. As I proceeded to the checkout screen, I noticed the credit card information was already saved—from a purchase my sister made using her own credit card just a few weeks earlier. I was not prompted to enter the 3-digit security code; I could simply checkout and have the ability to charge a credit card that wasn’t even mine, without physically having it or even knowing any of the information on the card. This came as a shock to me because if a stranger were to get ahold of my computer, virtually anyone could simply open Amazon.com on my laptop and have unlimited purchasing access. I am now more cautious when entering and saving credit card information, and I now manually will log myself out of websites before I am done. This widespread un-privatization of personal information online seems like it may have negative implications for the future.

  6. It’s remarkable how quickly technology updates and how quickly the general public is forced (some willingly, others less so) to adapt. Personally, I only started hearing a lot about cloud computing at the beginning of this year, even though apparently I was already using it on my iPhone. I vaguely remember being prompted to fill out information, but I didn’t realize to what extent this so-called backup system would be. Very recently I had to restore my iPhone and thought I had lost all of my apps. However, as I started re-downloading them I noticed that my iPhone remembered the configuration I had previously used and aligned each app in the former position as I downloaded it. I was shocked. It gets better. Every app was still signed into. I didn’t have to re-enter any usernames or passwords. I’ll admit that it was convenient because I didn’t have to try remembering passwords from a long time ago, but it worries me that one username and password to the Cloud instantly grants access to every application (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, even mobile-banking–although that requires an additional password). While I think that cloud computing is very useful, I think that consumers need to be informed more about what is saved and they should be given more options about what they want to keep private.

  7. Great post introducing critical security and privacy concerns. You mentioned your concern about potential employers viewing private information on social media sites such as Facebook. That is a concern that is shared by employers with regards to the web 2.0 activities of their own employees and the impact it may have on the image and reputation of the company. Social media is emerging as a critical component of corporate governance and is certainly an exciting topic to learn more about!

  8. This is a good blog post that gives an overview of privacy issues we face in today’s technological world. In some ways, like you point out, it can be helpful for our pictures, videos, documents, etc. to be saved to the cloud, so you can’t lose them, but is it necessary for all of our information to be saved online? You bring up a crucial point that it is up to us to research the providers’ user agreements and policies, so we know how our information is being used. I am always very cautious when doing any banking or anything with money online. I also recently made an account on “care.com,” which helps people find babysitting and nannying jobs, and it asks for your social security number. I think it is incredibly important to do the research on the company before giving out such personal information like that, and most of the time, I find that it isn’t worth it. However, since more and more of our lives are being moved online (banking, finding jobs, etc), I may be forced to give out more personal information than I care to in the future. This was a good topic for all of us to think about it in relation to our lives.

  9. I completely agree with you. I also tend to be a very private person. However, it seems that our whole lives are being displayed on the internet for the world to see. Although the benefits of things like social media are undeniable, it is pretty disturbing to think that people we don’t even know can gain access to our personal information and find out what we did on a random Tuesday last year. It is up to each individual to decide how much information they want available to people on the internet. However, I think that people are gradually being forced to make more information public as things like applying for jobs or networking become primarily based on the internet.

  10. I thought this article was very interesting and I completely agree with you that the line between public and private is constantly being blurred. This is in part due to increased technology and the constant barrage of social media apps being thrown at us. In this way, technology is really a double edged sword and we should think about if the positives are outweighing the negatives. I agree with Brian’s comment saying that it is up to the individual to decide how much information to give out to the public, but now someone else posting a questionable picture with you in the background can be an issue. I am worried about what this trend will eventually result in but I think at some point, people will reach a limit of how much private information they are willing to share publicly.

  11. Great post! It really scares me the fact that everything that goes online never disappears. I am sure I am not the only one with this anxiety because many companies have been created to clean your online reputation. These services focus on two tasks: requesting that negative information about you or your company be taken down, and helping you create new content to displace the negative content. Several examples are ReputationDefender, RemoveYourName, and Integrity Defenders. If you are worried about it, you should definitely use these!

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