Here’s a quote from a recent New York Times article on the recent Sony hack:
“Everyone is so excited about the cloud, but the cloud is really a drunken Xerox machine making copies of pretty much everything that everyone has said anywhere and spewing it all over the place,” said Howard Lerman, the co-creator of Confide, a messaging app that works like the corporate version of Snapchat.
My first reaction to this quote was a big loud “no”. It’s a really nice soundbite, but misapplied, surely. This applies to social media, but not the cloud in general, right? Then I remembered: what about those private Jennifer Lawrence that suddenly went public earlier this year?
The Sony hack wasn’t really about data in “the cloud”. From what we’ve seen so far, Sony’s internal systems were compromised. They weren’t on the cloud as we normally think of it. Lerman has an agenda (selling Confide’s services), and he’s using the story of the moment to push his agenda. But this quote probably applies far better to the 2014 photo leak (sorry, I’m not going to use the popular name here) than it does to the Sony hack.
However, it is entirely correct as applies to much of recent history. The question for those of us who develop technologies in/for the cloud is simply: How do we stop it? This smells like market opportunity to me. Can PGP be made easy enough for anyone to use it on their phone? Does an entirely new solution need to be created? How can we extend security and privacy into the easy to use cloud?
Food for thought.