Today’s information security climate is composed of a patchwork of state, national and international law. Authorities all over the world have broad powers allowing the seizure of your data. While some privacy protections do exist, the de-facto exercise of poorly regulated spy craft results in the bulk collection of records. Corporate online services face increasing demands from authorities to release their clients data, often without a warrant and without notifying the affected user.
At the same time, our online interactions are heavily monetized in ways not readily apparent to the casual user. It’s no secret that every search, click or Facebook ‘like’ are used to build digital profiles. If you search for dog training videos, it won’t be long before ads for dog food show up in your search results.
What’s not as visible are the ways Google, Microsoft and many others deeply plumb your online presence in order to turn you into a product. The emails and documents you store on their cloud are not private. If you save a journal online in Google Docs, and share it with no one, you’ve nevertheless shared it with Google. They then use it to refine their profile of you, increasing its value to anyone willing to pay.
Despite efforts to anonymize these profiles, data analysis will often reveal exactly who you are. That might not be too scary when Purina knows you need dog food. It’s chilling when a health insurer knows you’ve written or searched about the history of heart disease in your family.
Against this backdrop exists the ever-present threat of hacking. In 2014, Anthem Inc. was heavily compromised. Anthem maintained a corporate cloud to serve as shared data storage for its many health-insurance subsidiaries. What came to be known as the ‘Anthem Breach’ exposed over 78 million people’s health records, social security numbers, addresses and more. It seems unbelievable, but none of this data was encrypted on Anthems servers. In fact, Anthem was not even legally obligated to do so.
Corporations, groups and individuals use the cloud because it’s powerful, and convenient. Storing our credit, medical or other personal information online makes that data more useful. Selectively sharing it with those we choose fosters innovation in banking, health care and so much more. But this cannot come at the expense of our safety, or our privacy. We believe that everyone should have access to their own secure cloud. One that’s as convenient as the ad-supported options, and as powerful as commercial versions–but one that returns privacy and control to you. And it’s free. Welcome to Gibberfish.