Cloud Computing and Data Privacy

Information technology (IT) is a 3.6 trillion dollar industry according to an article in Forbes titled Biz Tech’s New Big Alliances.  When you think about it, the IT sector encompasses vast elements of products, services and jobs for countless individuals across the world.  And what’s the driving force behind the success of IT?  It’s data, tons and tons of data. And somehow in all of this technological advancement, privacy issues always seem to be the last component to be considered by most companies and organizations, as the race heats up to sell more to a countless number of consumers.

Online privacy is changing all the time and rather quickly.  Right now there is a lot of talk about cloud computing.  So what is it?  First of all, The Cloud is the internet. Cloud computing is essentially the ability to make data readily accessible from no matter where by using various applications, platforms, and infrastructures instead of just one in a centralized location. This allows for the syncing up of multiple devices and accessing information around the world. Cloud computing is great for people who are constantly on the go and even for government agencies but it also means an accelerated move for data miners to learn as much about users in an effort to get their information for marketing.  If you are reading this post, chances are one or more of your online accounts operates on cloud computing.  Cloud computing is making it easier for companies across various platforms to share information quickly and quite efficiently.

Understanding cloud computing is important in order to understand how your personal data is being collected and affected.  Two major conferences were held recently about cloud computing to discuss what this technology means for data privacy and the standards that could be implemented.  So meanwhile as the industry works to create some regulations for cloud computing, it’s ever more important to guard your personal information by limiting what you make available and where you make it available.  For example, to help limit the availability of your information, only use those services that are absolutely important for your productivity or networking.  You can also take control of your information that currently exists online hosted by data companies who grab your information (because right now they can) by opting out using Privacy for Cops Identity Protection Kit.

According to an article in Wikipedia, “The cloud model has been criticized by privacy advocates for the greater ease in which the companies hosting the cloud services control, and, thus, can monitor at will, lawfully or unlawfully, the communication and data stored between the user and the host company.”  So be ever watchful of the information that is out there about you and what you provide. Even when it comes to surveys, discount programs or new accounts, whether at the store or online, know that you don’t have to answer every question like your gender, household income, and birthday.  Companies want to know this information but there is nothing in the law that says they must have it, especially as the industry and the government learns to regulate themselves and these companies.

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