With WikiLeaks and The Gawker Incident so fresh in our minds, many of us are wondering just how secure supposedly secure data really is. (If you are not up-to-speed on what happened with Gawker, see my previous post and its related links.)
You may have even wondered if you want to continue having any of your data stored on someone else’s web servers in “the cloud.” And, if security issues weren’t enough to make you wonder, some cloud services are going away. For example, today we learned that Yahoo may be closing down Delicious, the popular bookmarking site, along with several other services.
And Yahoo is not the only major internet player to close down services. Even Google has done it, and even Google, no matter how altruistic it is, can put its own interests above those who use its services (see here and here).
Pioneering software freedom activist Richard Stallman even goes so far as to say that the cloud is for suckers. And, in my most idealistic moments, I agree with him.
But, as a practical matter, having some data in the cloud lets us access the data from pretty much wherever we are. And, we can count on the data being up-to-date.
No longer do we have to worry whether we synced the changes we made at work with our smartphones, and whether we synced to our home computer, and whether the changes we made on our smartphones are synced to our home and work computers, and … Of course, when we do this, we have to put trust in those who operate the web servers that are storing our data, which means we only want to do this with organizations that have demonstrated their trustworthiness.
But, do we really want to do that with all of our data? That is, do we want to put all of our data in the cloud, so we can access it everywhere we have a connection to the cloud?
We didn’t start out with all of our data going to the cloud, but most of us have been steadily adding more and more data. We may have just started out with a calendar, say Google Calendar, but we slowly added ToDo lists and Contacts and files and we began using bookmark sites, and so on.
It is possible to reach a point where you don’t even know how much of your data is in the cloud, and that you forget some of the places where you’ve stored little bits of information.
I do not have a precise answer for you, of course, as we have to individually deal with the question of how much data to put in the cloud. I, for one, am moving some things (ToDo lists and Contact lists, for example) out of the cloud and into stand-alone apps (which can sync with my iPad and iPhone).
But, for now I am holding onto Google Calendar. By the way, I also ported my Delicious bookmarks to an xml file on my computer, and I’ll eventually figure someone to parse it into Yojimbo on my Mac.
(I simply did a search for Delicious exporting and found lots of options.)
If you’d like to share your thoughts on this, I’d love to hear from you.