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    BBC News: Cloud computing: Privacy and trust up in the cloud

    BBC News reports on the issue of privacy in the context of cloud computing. We’ve discussed the privacy implications before, and the ACLU of Northern California has released an issue paper, “Cloud Computing: Storm Warning for Privacy?” Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart has announced a public consultation “on the privacy issues related to cloud computing practices and their implications for individuals, organizations, and businesses.”

    Fifteen years ago people carried their documents around on floppy discs, then many people switched to memory sticks, and now a few are turning to the cloud.

    Cloud computing means the ability to access, change and interact with data on any platform with a net connection, including on smartphones. […]

    But there are concerns that storing personal data on a server somewhere in cyberspace could pose a major threat to the privacy of individuals. […]

    Mike Elgan from warned users against being too trusting.

    “Services say give us all your data and use the applications from the internet, and don’t worry about anything, we’ll take care of the security. It’s a value proposition based on you trusting the provider,” he said.

    “What we’ve learned recently is that no matter how trustworthy the provider is, it’s never as secure or bullet proof as you might think it is,” he added. […]

    [S]ome services do not synchronise data to personal computers and are based solely in the cloud.

    An internet connection failure, or infrastructure downtime, is enough to cut people off from their files on these systems. […]

    Not relying on the cloud entirely is one concern, but critics advise students to ponder on the physical location of their work, issues over ownership, and the rising fees for accessing it.

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