In Cloud, delete means ‘keep it forever’

Protest_against_internet-620x350After the recent whistle blown by Edward Snowden, former technical contractor for US Intelligence about  Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, YouTube, AOL, Skype, and Apple selling customer’s information to the government without any warrants has upset the public. The news has damaged the trust relationship between the customers and these companies but especially Google since Google has most of the customers. Google search, youtube, maps, android and gmail are heavily used applications and google started with the concept of Free & Open but they’ve greatly worked against it. This news has certainly damaged Google’s reputation a great deal.

Most customers are upset over the news but there are some customers who don’t think it’s a big deal saying that they were always being watched by the governments, intelligence agencies, hackers and IT staff all along. They fail to understand that it’s these companies who have sold and used customers’ data for their own benefits without their permission and without any warrant. Yes there were speculations that intelligence agencies monitor social media websites but there wasn’t any proof. Yes there are hackers who would always be there to harm you but just like any other profession or field, IT is not perfect either and you can protect yourself from hackers if you want to. As far as the IT staff is concerned, they are in no position to collect customer’s data and misuse them, they might be monitoring the data flow but that’s only to protect the system from intrusion not to blackmail the users.

I’ve also heard people saying that if they aren’t doing anything suspicious why should they be worried about this news. But having Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, youtube, AOL, skype and Apple collecting your data from your email accounts, web searches, and cloud repositories, they might also be collecting data from your Operating System (Windows, Mac i.e. personal computer), and your mobile phones, which allows nothing but your traditional pen and paper which you’d consider to be the only safe haven but probably not everywhere since there’s surveillance cameras in every major intersection and public places in big cities. So where’s your privacy?

Last but not the least why is every major company providing you tons of web space for free? You can pretty much upload anything unlimited on dropbox, Google’s gmail, youtube, drive, picasa and Yahoo’s flickr, Microsoft’s skydrive etc. A terabyte of space for millions of users by Yahoo’s flickr? and then backing them up regularly, that’s a huge investment in network and servers infrastructure by the company. Facebook isn’t removing any of your old posts or suspended/deleted accounts, they are piling up everything (for later use) and not everything that you delete from your virtual/cloud drives are deleted. Have you ever wondered why?