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Lost in the Cloud

Jul 20, 2009, 21:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Zittrain)

[ Thanks to Cosmo Lee for this link. ]

"Before, the bad guys usually needed to get their hands on people's computers to see their secrets; in today''s cloud all you need is a password.

"Thanks in part to the Patriot Act, the federal government has been able to demand some details of your online activities from service providers -- and not to tell you about it. There have been thousands of such requests lodged since the law was passed, and the F.B.I.'s own audits have shown that there can be plenty of overreach -- perhaps wholly inadvertent -- in requests like these.

"The cloud can be even more dangerous abroad, as it makes it much easier for authoritarian regimes to spy on their citizens. The Chinese government has used the Chinese version of Skype instant messaging software to monitor text conversations and block undesirable words and phrases. It and other authoritarian regimes routinely monitor all Internet traffic -- which, except for e-commerce and banking transactions, is rarely encrypted against prying eyes."

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