Since some time ago I started to worry that some “vital” information for me was on the “The Cloud” and that most of the service providers didn’t provide a way to retrieve my stuff or a support line.
I started to worry also about privacy for the first time in my life: what if companies suddenly becomes evil? Hmm. That could be bad. The “big players” are able to know everything about me: the email I read, the news I read, who are my friends, my family, my pictures….and much more! They could relate all this information to know what I like, what I dislike and so on.
Of course there are benefits. By knowing me more, they can offer better services that could be refined search, special advertisement or even make it easier to find that friend from kinder garden that I’ve never met after I was 4 (?)…
But what is the problem if they turn evil or decide that I do not deserve anymore these goods?
Some months ago I started to “migrate” at least some of my important stuff to open source and “controlled by me” services. I’m now sharing a server with one of my friends where I have my own email service for instance. I also contributed some patches to Akregator to let me share my news with my friends. I started to just use identi.ca and let Twitter “replicate” that, so my friends from Twitter get my thoughts. But in worst case I can just install Status.net on my server and voilà. I’m also looking forward ownCloud.
Yesterday and today I had the proof that I’m not (completely) paranoid (and trust me, I’m one of the last ones to be paranoid about subjects :P).
Starting from yesterday: after getting an invitation to try Diaspora (thanks Lydia!), and linking my twitter account there I discovered that my Twitter account was “suspended”. Ow great. I was supposed to get an email when this happens and there was nothing on my inbox neither on spam. I tried filling a support request and I always get the “Could not perform the task. Wait a few minutes” message.
I don’t know how but I finally received an automatic email from one of this support tickets that actually managed to be sent (all the time I tried I received an error…). I followed all the guidelines and answered the email asking for my account back. Tom pointed out that twitter had some security issues…but it has been already 24 hours that they disabled my account without sending even an email. If it wasn’t Diaspora I would never discover that it was suspended.
Today, while reading my morning news, I discover that Richard had a problem with Google and can’t solve that. He tried email, forums and everything else he could. Ah, great! He even has an Android phone that is pretty useless without a Google account. I’m sorry Rich 🙁
“The Cloud” is awesome, isn’t it? 🙂 That’s why we need projects like StatusNet, Diaspora, ownCloud and Open Desktop (UPDATE: thanks to the ones that pointed out that open desktop isn’t actually open source).