GDrive and Privacy

It was probably on the last day of JavaOne 2005. There was a panel discussion with James Gosling, Bill Joy, Guy Steele, and John Gage on the future of Java. During that conversation, Gosling joked that since Google maintains a cache of of all the websites, we can shutdown the internet and use Google’s servers to access all information.
Now it seems Google wants to store all information on their servers, including your personal files. This is a new concept called GDrive which promises infinite storage for users.

With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc). We already have efforts in this direction in terms of GDrive, GDS, Lighthouse, but all of them face bandwidth and storage constraints today.[Google’s “GDrive” part of promise for infinite storage]

Google Desktop Search already allows you to share files across computers by storing them on Google servers. The only question then to ask is how secure will the data be. Recently Google accidently released details of their financial data on the web, which is very reassuring.
If you live in United States, you can be rest assured that your personal data is all over the place. Medical records are stolen, tax returns are sometimes made public, and whole set of credit card information is lost. The only protection you have is the possibility that hackers do not find your data interesting.

3 thoughts on “GDrive and Privacy

  1. I find it really unnerving that consumers do not think along the lines of privacy and data protection when using online or offline services. If we consumers don’t ask for it, I see no reason for the service providers to ‘waste’ their budget on such features.

  2. Srijith,
    For argument sake, when a bank says it has lost all customer records during transportation, the reputation of the bank is at stake. Even if customers do not ask for it, don’t you think they have other incentives to protect customer data?
    Here in US, the banks, credit cards etc. charge an additional fee for account protection from fraud. I think it should not be an additional service, but included in the default.

  3. JK, that actually reveals the fundamental problem – we do not care enough about privacy as much as losing $10 from our bank accounts. Banks didn’t have all these things in place from day 1, they were added when the demand came about, demands made by users.
    Take for example GMail -a recent ruling asked Google to hand over all emails in an account, even the deleted ones, as long as they are somewhere in the storage/backups. GMail does state clearly that emails that are in backups will not be deleted when you press the Delete button. Did that inhibit the use of GMail? Nope!

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