January 04, 2007

Backing Up to a Subpoena

by PG

In an article about online options for backing up computer files, only a brief reference to security is made: "All four companies insist that your files are encrypted before they even leave your computer. But if you still canít shake the image of backup-company employees rooting through your files and laughing their heads off, then this may not be the backup method for you."

For those who have been noting the Bush Administration's proclivity for demanding information from internet services, however, there's a question as to whether such backups will be secure from government search as well as private sector embarrassment. It is a cliche that Americans and Europeans have nearly opposite attitudes toward privacy: Americans fight government intrusion while accepting the massive information gathering and sharing done by corporations; Europeans tend to accept that the government has good reason to watch them, but the GAP does not. Hence the ACLU's fear of public-private cooperation.

Certainly such companies will want to take a Google-esque stance as defenders of their customers' privacy, for fear that they otherwise will lose them. Even those customers who have no reason to fear Gonzales's reading their e-mails may object, as we often defend our privacy on principle even when no harm will accrue from its violation.

January 4, 2007 02:50 PM | TrackBack
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