I am going to add this post which is a little off track, because I have been getting a lot of questions recently about online storage. Here is a great break down of what is out there.
In the news you are going to hear a lot about Amazon’s new online application “Amazon Cloud Drive”. What you are not going to hear a lot of is the downside to using this FREE online storage. Why did I capitalize “free”, remember the adage “if it seems to good to be true, it probably is”, it applies in this case.
Many people neglect to read the terms of usage, because
a) it is to long and wordie to sit there and read
b) it is in such legal terms, you are not really sure what it means
c) you are just to busy and it will be fine, why would they hurt you, won’t it make their company look bad
I admit, I do it every time I upgrade itunes, I just hit agree and go on. But when it comes to your documents, photos and other sensitive materials do you really want anyone to have access. If anyone having access to your photos and using them as they may is okay with you, then stop reading. If it is not, let me give you a small lesson in online storage.
Here is the very first thing you see on the “Clouds” Terms of service:
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY — THIS IS A BINDING CONTRACT
This is a very big hint to the consumer, somewhere in this contract your rights are being abused. Here is the section I am talking about straight from Amazon’s website
The “You give us the right to access” means exactly that. You have given them permission to go through your files at anytime for any reason without your permission. Many people will say “but it is password protected and I am the only one who knows the password”. They created the software and they have the key to access whatever they want that is on “their cloud”.
Many people do not realize, in Facebook’s early stages, they had the same rights to use your photos in any way they deemed appropriate. Remember the word “FREE”. You are using FB for free, if they wanted to create an ad with your image, use your image in their office, change your image, you gave them permission by uploading your photos. And they didn’t even need to ask.
A few years ago the uproar from professional photographers caused them to change that clause so that they can look, but can’t use photos with out the express permission of the creator.
Another thing about online storage – how long will it be there? Do you remember Kodak Easy Share? About 5 or 6 years ago, Kodak and AOL shut down the online printing and storage site. (I assume because it was not profitable) Many people lost all of there photos and were outraged that they were not given enough notice. It was announced for over 6 months that the online storage site was going away, but in the sea of junk mail in everyone’s in box, they ignored the messages that it was shutting down. Hence, all their images were gone.
Now that we’ve talked about the bad, lets get to some good. Mac has had MobileMe which has been a great online storage option for us Mac users, but in June 0f 2012 they are dissolving that for their new storage system icloud (coming this fall). It is free and supposedly encrypted so you are the only one who can access it. Again, with free comes issues. As much as I love Mac, this free form of storage will only work if you are using the newest operating system Lion. With 4 different Mac’s running in our office, I am looking into the next two options for my online storage and back-up.
Other good online storage, Mozy and Carbonite. From what I know they are heavily encrypted so that no one, even themselves, can easily get access without your permission. But again, they are not free.
Why am I telling you all this – education. People are shocked when they find out their rights have been abused, but in most cases they have signed their rights away with a click of a mouse and didn’t even know it. Online back-up is great because it doesn’t take up space on your Hard Drive. Hard Drives, thumb drives and portable storage wallets are cheap! Plus, the only one who can look through your images or documents are people you want to see them. So protect yourself and think twice before storing important information on “FREE” sites.