Cloud computing makes me nervous

After the recent news of Freddie, Fannie, Bear Sterns, Lehman Bros, Merrill Lynch, and AIG, I got to thinking about how much of my work is online—Google Docs, Gmail, WordPress, Wikidot, etc.  If our highly-regulated banking industry can fail, why not these young unregulated internet sites?

Should there be an FDIC equivalent for the “banks” that hold our information?  Would that help? How would that work?

Apparently I’m not alone in my (1) use of cloud computing and (2) nervousness about it.  The Pew Internet & American Life project released a study (pdf) stating (among other things) that 69% of American households store information online or used a web-based software application and that the vast majority of these users are worried about it.



  1. Dominic Klyve says:

    Hi Dave,
    Long time no chat!
    I happened across your website today, and found your blog. I agree that cloud computing is scary. In fact, in my weaker moments I also worry about the information stored on hard disks, magnetic tapes, and paper. If civilization were to fall, would we be remembered?
    I propose stamping our important information, literature, science, and mathematics in some sort of permanent form — perhaps a library of titanium plates stored in some obvious but hard-to-enter place, so a future civilization can find it.
    Of course, most people I tell about this find it ridiculous…..

  2. ahassan says:

    that is one of the worrying things about cloud computing. one of the things that im worried about is governments that will look at my personal information stored on externals servers without my knowledge or permission and also hackers getting hold of that information.

  3. Gene Chase says:

    I always keep my own local copy of all my blog and Facebook and Google calendar and Google docs, so I’m not worried about losing anything.

    I always keep stuff that’s not for public consumption out of the cloud altogether. The exception is copyrighted stuff that I put up for students to look at (jokes, articles from journals) under fair use for them. I trust my students (and faculty who know of my course page) not to link them from a place where they might be scraped by Google into permanency. In that sense, they’re not really in the cloud, only the low-hanging fog here at Dickinson College.

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