As I watched Facebook CEO Mark Duckerberg duck all the poison darts thrown at him during his Senate testimony I was struck by the paradox of data lock in. One of my fears is that files I save online– iCloud, Dropbox, GoogleDrive, OneDrive or wherever– are stuck where they are, but with the capability of being lost, stolen, destroyed.
Another fear is that Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other behind the scenes digital information thieves are gathering data from my online life and sharing it, using it, profiting from it in ways I could not imagine before.
Simply put, the cloud– for all of its efficiency in keeping information– may inadvertently be a nemesis which harbors all the good and bad about humanity, and may not allow us any control over what gets stored in the cloud.
Think about it. Who controls what gets stored online?
For now, I can upload Photos and Documents from my Mac to iCloud and keep them mostly in synch. But where else do those files go? Who else has access to those files? Will those files show up somewhere else besides iCloud?
As it stands now, I can use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, but now we know the company gathers and uses that information against us. Personal data has become weaponized to manipulate out thoughts, alter our buying habits, and change how we perceive the world. Now we know, thanks to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, that the data online companies collect does not stay in one place.
Sure, it gets used, and often used against us and against our will. Would you approve of what Facebook allows? No. But we opted in to Facebook’s allure and charm and the free ability to connect with friends, family, and companies. Congress hauls Mark Duckerberg into a hearing and peppers him with sophomoric questions laced with diatribes of nonsense– clearly, members of congress have no idea how Facebook or online data capture works– and he dodged and ducked his way out of another scandal by using mostly the same verbiage he used in college when he was caught doing the same thing.
So, I worry about what happens to the information I store on iCloud, Dropbox, et al. And I worry about what happens to the personal data gather from my online and personal life by the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and cohorts because I have no idea where that information goes after it is taken or uploaded.
As much as I find iCloud useful and convenient, and as much as I enjoy keeping track of family and friends via Facebook, I have serious thoughts about dumping all of them because it should be obvious they cannot be trusted with information they gather and store. That data seems to have legs with no limit.