QUOTE(Meanie @ Apr 5 2007, 08:26 AM)
gmail has backdoors whereby a hacker can access anybody's imap folder... plus googles does not backup their mailboxes and merely rely on raid. so far their hardware has been good, but with time, there will be failures so storing stuff on google is not so safe, but for stuff you don't care about or things you have your own backups anyway, like photos you just want to access easily, gmail is good enough...
as for a web based word processor, yeah, great idea for like composing birthdayinvites, but i wouldn't want to do my business plan somewhere that any entry level hacker has access to...
Yes, this is a general problem with the paradigm of centralized storage of data.
You have to trust someone or some company, in order to feel good storing your data there.
But nowadays you cannot even trust your government anymore, let alone companies who are interested in making money and may not hesitate to use the users' data to make even more money, on which way ever.
Technically, centralized storage would be a great thing.
But for the above reasons, I don't like it too much. And that's where the Zaurus comes in very handy. Lots of storage space, but alwas in my own pocket and under my control. Or better: Under my responsibility. Of course, if it gets stolen or lost, it's not under my control anymore, but so I have the responsibility to protect it against such things.
For example, when I was at Cebit in March, I carried the Zaurus in a belt case and used the little wrist wrap notch to "connect" the Zaurus with a 50cm strong line with my belt. That way, I could be quite sure that it wasn't stolen from out of that belt case, but I could still pull it out and use it frequently during booth hopping.
Just a small example, but there are much more ways to make sure your data isn't abused or even only lost, if you have the data with you (and probably backed up at home) than if it is stored online.
Using your own storage you can also choose the way you encrypt your data or use other protection schemes. Of course, if you don't do it, your data may be less safe than when stored online in an encrypted way.
I agree it's much more troublesome "at the moment" to have your data always with you and appropriately protected.
But it may cause much more trouble once the data is available online and abused.
It's always a trade-off of personal priorities, kind of data, trust and care.
BTW Meanie, what makes you so sure about google being unsafe in the ways you described? I have hear rumors of backdoors in GMail, but I have also heard that these rumors are only based on the fact that Google's main business is collecting and indesxing information for fast and easy public search, which could be an obvious way of abusing personal emails.
So, if google intended to do something like that, they should not wonder about missing trust.
The other aspect is technical - if google tries hard to protect the user data, but technical limits prevent them from doing this effectively (simply because hackers are always a step ahead in development), google is not responsible for the missing trust. But then, no company will ever get that necessary trust.
A much-discussed topic, I recently heard a discussion about a similar topic between listeners / users and representants of the government on local broadcast, and it is scaring how different the users' opinions are about this.
The topic was to which extent the government should be able to look into the personal data stored on personal computers in order to be able to prevent terrorism. Also an interesting aspect in a discussion about online storage...