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Zittrain Questions the Cloud

Always looking ahead to the future of the Internet, Berkman co-founder Jonathan Zittrain has a great op-ed in the New York Times today that questions the wisdom of moving our data from our PCs, which requires a hacker to break into your computer or network to steal your data, versus cloud computing (personal data stored and retrieved on the Internet–think Google Calender, Google docs, etc.) While storing data in the cloud might seem like a great idea, since you don’t have to worry about losing your data when you accidentally drop your laptop in the pool, Zittrain reminds us there are some real dangers, especially for those living in restrictive speech environments:

If you entrust your data to others, they can let you down or outright betray you….The cloud can be even more dangerous abroad, as it makes it much easier for authoritarian regimes to spy on their citizens. The Chinese government has used the Chinese version of Skype instant messaging software to monitor text conversations and block undesirable words and phrases. It and other authoritarian regimes routinely monitor all Internet traffic — which, except for e-commerce and banking transactions, is rarely encrypted against prying eyes.

Check it out.

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