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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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2 responses to “On Privacy, and Software Vendor’s Access to Customer Data”

  1. john trenouth

    Your quote from “someone related to data integration” is specious at best. According to his or her logic because 100% security is impossible we should be satisfied with 0% (which is what you get when your cloud service provider reads your documents).

    The bank and nurse analogies are also wrong. Here is a more appropriate one: I have a private mail box with MailBoxes Etc which is to my analog documents what Basecamp is to my digital document. Yet MailBoxes Etc does not and legally cannot open and read any of my mail.

    37 Sigs has shown that they do in fact read users’ content (unlike MailBoxes Etc), and the digital nature of cloud services makes it trivial to do so on a massive scale (again unlike MailBoxes Etc.), and there are enormous incentives for cloud services to read users’ content (and again, unlike MailBoxes Etc).

    No one is asking cloud services to provide a guarantee that *nobody* can read their data. We do however rightful expect that at the very least the cloud services themselves won’t read our data.

    Consultants (a large segment of cloud service customers) are usually bound by an NDA. If cloud service providers are reading the documents they host, then consultants who use these services could easily be shown to be in breach of their NDA agreements — exposing the them to liability.

    Stories like this, and more importantly the glib dismissal of the issue by those in the industry demonstrates that regardless of technical superiority, cloud services are disappointingly not appropriate for business critical data.