September 17, 2010
Does privacy really matter? To you? To Google?
I feel as though every couple of months a friend forwards me a story about the importance of privacy in this digital age upon which we live. And like clockwork, I received the following post the other day. If you have a brief moment, please give it a quick read:
In quick summary, a systems administrator at Google penetrated several Google accounts to view Google Voice and Google Chat logs. Apparently he had known the people whose accounts he had entered and was literally ‘spying’ on them.
Of course this one breach brings up a whole host of issues and touches on the much much larger problem of what else could potentially be going on behind the Google firewall that isn’t being caught or reported. In this case it was Mr. Barksdale’s arrogance and aggressiveness that lead to his demise but one has to figure others could/would be much smarter in their approach. At the very least – it surfaces the question.
So why did we create our ‘zero-knowledge’ privacy environment? I suppose the above case proves the point so well that no explanation is really necessary. And does this privacy come at a price? Yes – it does indeed. It means that SpiderOak cannot provide services with the same speed or as ‘openly’ as some of our competitors (feel free to read this post for further explanation: Why and How SpiderOak architecture is different than other online storage services: The surprising consequences on database design from our Zero-Knowledge Approach to privacy). However, to create a world where neither our system administrators nor potential thieves nor any government agency across the globe could access plaintext data on our servers was far more important and necessary.
After all, the world we live in now is as much about having options as anything else and we present our ‘zero-knowledge’ privacy environment as one for the security conscious. Oh – and don’t worry – if you miss this post then there will surely be another opportunity.