"Take Google's new Nexus One phone as a case study of the pros
and cons of storing life details on remote servers. Nexus One
phones can back up their complete settings to Google's servers,
including data such as "Wi-Fi passwords, bookmarks, a list of the
applications you've installed, the words you've added to the
dictionary used by the onscreen keyboard, and most of the settings
that you configure with the Settings application." Get a new phone
and the data transfers easily.
"But that data is now sitting on servers outside of your
control, where it can be accessed far more easily by Google itself,
hackers, and law enforcement than it ever could if kept within the
device. Once data passes over the network, it gets much easier to
access in realtime; once it is stored on a remote server, it gets
much easier to access at any time.
"And those are just the phone settings. Google also has access
to search history data, anything stored in Google Docs or
Spreadsheets, complete schedules stored in Google Calendar, and
recent Maps searches. Combine them all, and companies like Google
become one-stop shops for authorities looking for personal
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