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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In The Closet, Not In The Cloud

A lot will be said about the cache of images that has flooded the internet of young Hollywood girls over the coming days. Most of that dialogue will be over privacy. I feel very sorry for these women because until now people might have assumed that something like iCloud would be safe. However, any system designed by humans is usually open to be hacked by humans and to some extent I am shocked that the kinds of photos that these young women take of themselves, that they would wish to store them on an iCloud service.

You only need to look at the quantity of devices that are using the iCloud service from your iPad, iPhone, laptop and desktop to know that you can't possibly be synchronising that much data between devices and a server based technology without expecting that something might go wrong. Typically in the past anything that one might assume was sensitive was stored in a shoe box on negatives but with the times changing and technology moving so fast, I can see why these young women are getting caught up in the gap between progress and the surety of a new technology.

The greater implications, to my mind, are not whether Bar Rafaeli wishes to show her friend what she ate for breakfast but whether the photos of our children are safe or that our home lives are not compromised. These women are unfortunate martyrs to a new cause -  that the world should be analysing and assessing how we better safeguard data from those that could potentially do us harm. There is a reason why some extremist terrorist groups don't use mobile phones or computers or why Benny 'The Tractor' Provenzano, the ex-head of the Italian wing of the 'Cosa Nostra', only used paper messages rolled up to communicate with his chain of command - the fact is, if it's digital, it can be hacked. Since these clandestine groups use it to their advantage, perhaps we should do the same in some instances.

There may be still be some room for analogue in a digital world...

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