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You Cannot Delete Files in the Cloud

Sep 15, 2009, 14:32 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Schneier)

"As we move more of our data onto cloud computing platforms such as Gmail and Facebook, and closed proprietary platforms such as the Kindle and the iPhone, deleting data is much harder.

"You have to trust that these companies will delete your data when you ask them to, but they're generally not interested in doing so. Sites like these are more likely to make your data inaccessible than they are to physically delete it. Facebook is a known culprit: actually deleting your data from its servers requires a complicated procedure that may or may not work. And even if you do manage to delete your data, copies are certain to remain in the companies' backup systems. Gmail explicitly says this in its privacy notice.

"Online backups, SMS messages, photos on photo sharing sites, smartphone applications that store your data in the network: you have no idea what really happens when you delete pieces of data or your entire account, because you're not in control of the computers that are storing the data."

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