Who owns your data?

published June 20th, 2011 | categories: Featured, Informational | all categories

I have ranted on the Cloud previously on my blog. However, part of Zimmerman’s post really hit home for me. Who really owns the Cloud, and more importantly, who owns the data?

“I can simply do more with my data when I have a copy. I can work with it using any software I want, including software that I write myself. I don’t have to worry about whether I can transfer it from one web service to another. I’m never stuck using yesterday’s services because my data is never trapped in them. My personal data is always available to me me, always raw, ready and waiting for the next wave of software to come along. When it does, I can load my data into it and keep going. The fact that Facebook and Google disagree over sharing their users’ data doesn’t bother me in the least.

Another reason is that I want to be in control of it. I decide who to share my data with, and when. Some of it, I prefer not to share at all, with any person or company, and I have that choice. Even if a powerful government wants to access my data, I am afforded certain protection under the law, at least in the countries where I’ve lived. If I turned over my data to service providers, my choices and protection would likely be much more limited.

I have a deeper emotional attachment to my data as well. Enfolded within that vast pattern of bits is some part of my self. By sharing my personal data with other people, I show them something of who I am. Increasingly, my personal data is part of my identity. This is more than just a state of mind: it’s been shown that even our “non-identifying” personal data can reveal who we are.” source

When you upload your data to the Cloud, the contents are likely free and available to analyze whatever your data contains. It is likely that data stored in the cloud does not contain your super secret passwords. If it does, you’re an idiot for thinking that the cloud is a good place for them. This is not meant to insult you directly, rather a kick in the ass to say “Wake UP!” Reading the news, you know that major network sites are hacked everyday. Oftentimes, these sites are not so forthcoming with security breaches.

Back to the question at hand, who owns your data? If you read some of the fine print on various Terms of Service, you realize that you own your data still, however you are giving the data holder permissions to analyze what you have. Bottom line, store your own data in whatever format that you want. Come up with a plan for storing it, backing it up, and then making a redundancy. You cannot afford to be so ignorant in this digital era.

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