Project 03 Reflection

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Project 3 Reflection

The rampant popularity of the cloud has undoubtedly come along with a general lack of concern for personal data. Many people don’t know how the cloud work, who manages, and who has access to it. When utilizing these powerful services, we make several trade-offs. In exchange for extreme convenience, compatibility, and accessibility, all backed by the expertise of professionals, we forfeit our own personal information and security to the servers of our cloud service providers. If you use GMail, while they say they respect your privacy, they can access your personal email information anytime they want. They can research you, build your profile, tailor ads best to you. Additionally, you trust them completely to keep this information secure. You have to follow their security optoins and protocols, and any attack on Google subsequently means that your information is being attacked. While these trade-offs seem intense, the reality of the situation is much different. Google employs cyber-security experts to protect your data; most experts are more knowledgeable and better than you at protecting your data. They’ve done this their entire life. Trusting Google to protect your information is likely much more safe than the security that you can provide on your own email server. Additionally, Google has vastly superior resources when it comes to storage. Storage for individuals is expensive and can lead to high personal computer cost. Google offers several gigabytes worth of housing, all outside of your own machine, for free. The expertise in data management and price difference vs uses resources on your own machine make this advantage clear. While their might be skepticism around cloud computing because of widely publicized breaches, in reality, cloud services do their job well and justify their own use.

Considering all the advantages and the difficulties of setting up your own cloud services, I don’t see it worth your while to invest in self-hosted cloud services currently. This could easily change, though. Small changes in privacy policy from any cloud service could prompt a huge change in data housing and security. If Google decided to sell my information to companies rather than keep it secure, I would never use their service again. It all comes down to the amount of privacy a service offers, and on top of that, the trust that they’ve built with their customers. At this point in time, Google has my trust, and considering how powerful their services are, I hope that trust will persist.

As with any online service, there are terms and conditions when I sign up. Cloud services offer terms and conditions when you agree to let them house your data. Assuming, hypothetically, that I was a person that read those terms and conditions, and agreed with them, then I would have the moral standing to complain about encroachment on my security, should it violate those terms. In the end, it’s about being knowledgeable of who you’re giving your data to. If you decide to give your data away without fully understanding the terms, which most people do, including myself, then you have no room to complain that companies are using your data for what they said they would. I agree that encroachments on privacy are scary and can be dangerous, but the onus lands on the consumer to understand what they agreed to and what right they have to action.