I’ve been working with my iPad and iTouch (an iPhone without the 3Gphone). The apps make frequent use of “The Cloud” for data sharing, export, and backup. Very convenient.
The problem is, the Cloud is like Facebook. While Facebook provides the FBI (and other government spook agencies) convenient access to alphabetized lists of your friends and acquaintances, along with phone number, email addresses, scheduling/calendar info, and more, the Cloud provides easy access to all personal data stored there. Easy access not just for you, but for others like criminals, banks, insurance agencies, and most incredibility (not) – the Federal Government.
If I were the author of one of those free apps that store data in the cloud, I’d be tempted to take generous payments from the government to provide full access to the data. Wouldn’t you? Of course it’s hush-hush, but it’s all on the up-and-up. After all, it’s the Government, isn’t it? Aren’t they the ones who decide what’s right and wrong? What could possibly be wrong about taking money from the Government?
The Buying Out of American Business
The US Government learned a valuable lesson in the Savings and Loan banking crisis of the 1980’s. When it bailed out the banks, it essentially nationalized them, turning them into stoolies for the government, reporting every transaction over $8,000 and even much smaller transactions that, for any reason, might seem “suspicious”. You don’t suppose that’s been used against anyone in a personal vendetta by a government employee or elected official, do you?
Why stop with the banks? After all, most marketing-savvy businesses are avid collectors of information about their customers and even just hapless prospects. Why not just buy it from them and support big business instead of big government? It almost sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?
“Eyeball Networks” – the ISPs that service Internet consumers – are all picking up on this trend. They’re the ones in the best position to hand off records of all your Internet activities. Comcast charges $800/month to the Feds for each customer the government wants to snoop on. That’s way more money than they make for selling and servicing cable television to consumers, and with TIA (the Total Information Awareness program) is happy to pay with taxpayer dollars.
We learned recently another large ISP is earning millions selling the government the bits of data generated each time a computer looks up a hostname (e.g. www.google.com) on the Internet This includes identifying data such as your IP address.
Why stop there? Feds can simply buy your credit records. And, they can get your cloud data from Apple, Microsoft, DropBox, backup services like Mozy and Carbonite. It’s easy. It’s good for the economies of businesses taking the payoffs. It’s easy for the government.
How are YOU feeling about it? What is your threshold for this kind of abuse?