No surprise, Cloud companies ARE scanning your email

Posted by – 8. August 2014

A disturbing story hit recently when a Texas man was turned in by Google for storing child pornography in his Google Mail account. The story has gained national infamy in the US as the country tries to come to grips with either defending a monster, or defending invasion of privacy.

We don’t think it’s either/or. It is obviously repellent to all of us what this man was “collecting”. But knowing what Google – and other cloud providers – can do with our data, is frightening in its own right, especially for organizations with sensitive data.

And it’s not just Google – remember Judge Rules That Microsoft Must Turn Over Data Stored in Ireland

Microsoft suffered a setback in its efforts to block federal prosecutors from seizing a customer’s data that is stored overseas.

Judge Loretta A. Preska of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday upheld a magistrate judge’s ruling that Microsoft must turn over the customer’s emails, held in a Microsoft data center in Ireland. Big technology companies have rallied around Microsoft in the case, seeing the ruling as a potential threat to their plans to offer cloud computing services overseas.

So even when cloud companies don’t want to turn over data – they can be compelled to. We’ve written about the lack of a safe harbor before.

This is no surprise to many of us of course. It’s all there in the voluminous T’s and C’s of Facebook, Google, Dropbox. Our data is not our own. Our data lives forever – our data is out of our control.

And that might be ok for your vacation photos, or your personal email. But what about that research project at CERN? What about your University’s tests and term papers and grades? What about your company’s employee and customer data?

Do you want these searched and possibly turned over on the whim of a functionary somewhere?

Use cloud tools, but not cloud storage – own your own data.

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