“Cloud Computing: Is Anything Private?” Talk Notes

By Eric Goldman

Last month, I spoke at Cal State Northridge to a group of academic computer users (i.e., faculty and staff) on the topic of “Cloud Computing: Is Anything Private?” My talk slides. Check out my “fun” with PowerPoint’s clip art/photos!

I didn’t pick the talk title, but it was a little liberating to step back and discuss the implications of being users of cloud services. As you may recall, I’ve had my issues with cloud services, such as my fracas with Scribd when it put users’ older documents behind a Scribd paywall and vitiated the entire point of using Scribd (i.e., to archive documents for public consumption). I also gave the examples of Kodak Gallery blackmailing photo-hosting users to pay up or their photos go offline (my collection of 200+ photos from my 2008 trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were the casualty of that one) and when Pandora inadvertently disclosed playlists to the world at large. Furthermore, I called out Twitter as an example of a vendor I trust (although after their anti-user move to cut off LinkedIn’s app, I’m not so sure), and I called out Facebook as a vendor that regularly provides textbook examples of what cloud vendors shouldn’t do.