You often hear people saying that privacy is important. Especially online, where your data can be used in ways unknown to you, it’s even more important. Why exactly is it important though? Does an average joe, someone who has a couple of files here and there on the Internet need to care about privacy?
The answer is an astounding yes. In an ideal world, privacy wouldn’t be something you would have to ask for, or choose. Every software and app you use, and every website you visit will respect your privacy. Unfortunately, it is far from an ideal world, and it’s shocking to see what people who matter think of privacy.
Take the case of cloud file storage, for example. There are some great solutions out there but almost all of them don’t care for your privacy. Some, in fact, are rather frightening. The excerpt below is taken directly from Google Drive’s Terms of Service.
Your Content in our Services:
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.
The rights that you grant in this licence are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This licence continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing that you have added to Google Maps).
How you interpret it is up to you, but there is no denying the fact that this fine print gives Google access to your data and they can use it to “host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works”, etc. That holds true even when you “stop using their services”.
Your data can be used in many ways that you can’t anticipate. Even someone who believes he has nothing to worry about may, at some point, have to think about whether or not they want to upload his data to a particular cloud service. Come to think of it, you don’t really need that; you shouldn’t have to make the choice — all your data should be private in the first place.
What should you do about it? What are your options? For a start, you should start being more diligent about your data. That is one way to get started, and raise general awareness about the importance and the need of privacy of data. Second, there are many options for you if you look around.
Though cloud storage itself is a fairly recent development, there have been major leaps in how your data is stored on the cloud. In the recent past, the concept of personal cloud has come to prominence. In simple words, a personal cloud is something that remains on one of your own computers. You get all the benefits of a normal cloud without compromising the privacy of your data.
Using something like a personal cloud, if you store data that you don’t want anyone else to take a look at, you can rest assured that that’s exactly what will happen. Since every byte of data is still on your computer—as opposed to some remote server—you have nothing to worry about.
There are other approaches as well that are fairly secure. One of them is to encrypt the data before uploading it to some remote servers and keep the encryption key with yourself. In such a case, even if someone gets access to your data, they can’t do anything as they don’t have the encryption key. Then again, if you don’t know how everything is going on behind the scenes, you can never be too sure if it’s completely private.
That’s just one step forward in the direction of privacy. As the cloud in general and cloud storage in particular matures, you will see products that are a lot better, that care for your privacy. Even right now, the first step to ensure your privacy is to care for it.
ParaBlu helps you sync all your data with complete privacy and security. You have total control over your data at all the time. In simple words, it’s your personal cloud in your home.