On-line privacy is a hot topic these days.
The news and blogosphere are full of stories about the continually advancing threats to your privacy. Lawmakers, government regulators and the courts are trying to keep up with the proliferation of services and new technologies. Consumers, end-users and corporate IT departments are similarly challenged in balancing the benefits and costs of new technologies and services.
There are two main threats to your on-line privacy, whether it be confidential personal information or confidential corporate information:
- Confidential data being stolen when it is stored on-line, and
- You giving away your confidential data.
While everyone is worried about hackers stealing their confidential information, what really surprises me is how few people are aware of how often they simply give it away.
Hacking is a big issue and will be a topic for a future post.
This post is about people and companies willingly giving away their data, including confidential personal data, in return for free or subsidized services.
Here is an excerpt from the Terms of Service of a major cloud computing company that apply whenever you click on “I Accept” or you use their services:
By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.
You agree that this license includes a right for to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.
Here is an excerpt from Canadian Cloud Computing’s Terms of Service:
The Customer Data belongs to Customer, and Canadian Cloud makes no claim to any right of ownership in it.
Canadian Cloud will keep the Customer Data confidential in accordance with Section of this Agreement.
Canadian Cloud will use the Customer Data strictly as necessary to carry out its obligations under this Agreement, and for no other purpose.
Which one do you think respects your confidential information?
Wally Kowal is the president and founder of Canadian Cloud Computing