Who owns the Cloud? Who owns you?

Several people reminded me recently of Microsoft’s Cloud services famously demonstrated by how-old.net revealed during Microsoft’s Build 2015 conference in April 2015.

On the one hand some of these Cloud services are quite good: facial recognition is getting pretty good and readily available in a variety of software and social media platforms, even more impressive is emotion recognition.

And the fact that this is all linked in with handy webservice apis is…. also very scary and doomed to failure.

The ‘P.S. We don’t keep the photo’ on the how-old.net site is a reminder of the controversy around this: the idea of an identifiable database of images, plugged in to such an extent that the US knows not only where you are but also how you are feeling when you are there… the more you add services to this the more worried people get.

On the other hand the US government will prevent US companies from remaining dominant in The Cloud. Since the US requires access to all data in The Cloud, the data will move to alternative Cloud.

We already see it:

  • this is the key reason China blocks internet services from US companies.
    Don’t forget China has twice the number of internet users than the entire population of the USA, so that´s our first alternative non-US cloud.
  • Korea, Brazil and others demand data processing on their own soil
  • Europe, is well very unhappy at the ineffectiveness of its data privacy laws but appears powerless to do much about it yet. Eventually they will come up with an answer.
  • India will have the power and the next large internet population to be able to do so too

Take a look again at Microsoft’s Reasons We Share Data from their Microsoft Privacy Statement

“We share your personal data with your consent or as necessary to complete any transaction or provide any service you have requested or authorized. We also share data with Microsoft-controlled affiliates and subsidiaries; with vendors working on our behalf; when required by law or to respond to legal process; to protect our customers; to protect lives; to maintain the security of our services; and to protect the rights or property of Microsoft.”

I’ve emphasised certain items in bold to highlight that your consent is not necessary: your data is shared without your consent and without legal requirement, in order to respond to legal process (so maybe just the threat of legal action then) or if they are led to believe it is a life-or-death situation.
Or of course with any vendor Microsoft likes without your consent.

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