WPF Resource Page: Cloud Computing and Privacy
About Cloud Computing: The World Privacy Forum Cloud Computing Report, and Cloud Computing Tips
What is Cloud Computing ?
Cloud computing involves the sharing or storage by users of their own information on remote servers owned or operated by others and accessed through the Internet or other connections. Cloud computing services exist in many variations, including data storage sites, video sites, tax preparation sites, personal health record websites, photography websites, social networking sites, and many more.
Any information stored locally on a computer could be stored in the cloud, including email, word processing documents, spreadsheets, videos, health records, photographs, tax or other financial information, business plans, PowerPoint presentations, accounting information, advertising campaigns, sales numbers, appointment calendars, address books, and more.
Cloud computing has significant implications for the privacy of personal information as well as for the confidentiality of business and governmental information. While the storage of user data on remote servers is not new, current emphasis on and expansion of cloud computing warrants a more careful look at its actual and potential privacy and confidentiality consequences. See below for the WPF report and tips on cloud computing and privacy.
Released February 23, 2009
Author: Robert Gellman
The World Privacy Forum Privacy in the Clouds Report frames and analyzes the issues of privacy and confidentiality in the cloud computing environment. This report discusses the issue of cloud computing and outlines its implications for the privacy of personal information as well as its implications for the confidentiality of business and governmental information. It is the first thorough analysis of the privacy risks of cloud computing.
The report finds that for some information and for some business users, sharing may be illegal, may be limited in some ways, or may affect the status or protections of the information shared. Even when no laws or obligations block the ability of a user to disclose information to a cloud provider, disclosure may still not be free of consequences.
Released February 23, 2009
Cloud Computing Tips for Consumers:
- Read the Terms of Service before placing any information in the cloud. If you don’t understand the Terms of Service, consider using a different cloud provider.
- Don’t put anything in the cloud you would not want the government or a private litigant to see.
- Pay close attention if the cloud provider reserves rights to use, disclose, or make public your information.
- When you remove your data from the cloud provider, does the cloud provider still retain rights to your information? If so, consider whether that makes a difference to you.
Cloud Computing Tips for Business and Government:
- Beware of “ad hoc” cloud computing. Any organization should have standardized rules in place telling employees when and if they may utilize cloud computing and for what data.
- Don’t put anything in the cloud you wouldn’t want a competitor, your government, or another government to see.
- Read the Terms of Service. Then read the Terms of Service again.
- Make sure that you are not violating any law or policy, by putting data in the cloud, and think twice before putting any consumer data in the cloud.
- Consult with your technical, security or corporate governance advisors about the advisability of putting data in the cloud.
Resources on Cloud Computing:
- World Privacy Forum report and consumer tips on Personal Health Records online
- WPF resume database tips for jobseekers
- WPF Top Ten Opt-out List
- Pew Internet and American Life Project Survey on Cloud Computing
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Consumer Alert on cloud computing.
- Viodi.com write-up of Northern California ACLU presentation on risks of cloud computing.