To Cloud or Not to Cloud

by Chris Markham. 0 Comments

A while back, I wrote about potential legal issues stemming from cloud storage. For those of you that are still unsure of what it all means, cloud computing refers to information that you can access on your computer, but that is also stored on random servers throughout the world. Since that column was published, Apple and Amazon have introduced cloud services for their products and there are a number of different programs you can use to store documents on the Internet and access same through different computers without having them networked together.
I’ve also seen a vast increase in denial of service attacks – something the law (at least as far as the United States is concerned) is woefully inadequate at dealing with. And DNS and cloud computing have some of the same characteristics in terms of jurisdiction and liability. Here’s a refresher.
Now do not get me wrong – cloud computing can be a wonderful thing. I have a few different locations at which I work, and dragging along a computer and external hard drive to each can be a pain in the neck (as well as the back). Rather than sue myself for a worker’s compensation claim, I can download one of those handy programs and access my documents wherever I can get on the Internet. I can also access my documents through my phone, or any tablet computer I would want to use. The convenience is astounding, especially to those of us who remember how much servers and networking computers cost.
However, this convenience doesn’t come without a price. Sure, some programs are free of charge as long as you store less than five to seven gigabytes on their systems, and usually, the common user really only uses cloud services to store music or videos they’re downloaded. But for those people and business that store concrete, important information on their cloud accounts, a breach usually spells disaster. Face it – no one really cares your One Direction music collection has been hacked into (unless it was me, and I would DIE of shame).
Recently, we’ve seen Dropbox, a very popular document and picture cloud storage application experience a breach in security. We’ve also read about hackers that get into financial, commercial and governmental databases to garner as much personal information on people as they can. After the information has been stolen, these evil-doers go on fishing expeditions with their victims, trying to trick them into divulging even more and more of their information so then the bad guys can do some real damage.
A huge problem with cloud computing, as I’ve said before, yet it bears repeating, is the fact that, if your identity is stolen, you have a couple of different issues to contend with. First, you have to endure the time, stress and expense of trying to dial back all of the bad things done to you by the crooks. Dealing with loss mitigation and fraud departments for your banks, credit cards and other financial institutions, trying to convince same that you’re the victim, not the perpetrator. Working with credit agencies to resolve conflicts and actually get negative items removed from the report. All of these are no small task.
Second, is, once you get your house in order (which, not exaggeration, could take a year, or longer) you have to figure out who violated you and what court you can possibly bring an action. The first may be a stroke of huge good luck. But if you get the first, you have to figure out the second. Usually, the rule of thumb is that you have to sue someone where they live, where the act took place or where the property involved in the matter is located. Sounds simple, right?
Not so much. Chances are, the person (or people) that broke into your account is probably not located in America. That just adds another level of complexity, as some countries may not observe our rule of law regarding identity theft. Then, we have to see where he servers that were used are located. Many experienced hackers ping a signal off of dozens of servers located in many countries so tracing them to a single country, let alone a computer, is a well-nigh impossible task. That said, there are numerous places jurisdiction against these scumbags can be brought – but only a few jurisdictions that may actually be able to prosecute the crooks.
This is very disheartening. As I’ve said earlier, an invasion into your privacy will take a lot of your time, effort and money. You should be able to recoup some of your losses as a result of their intrusion.


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