This week marked the latest twist against the cloud. Twitter said it was going to court to protect tweets against subpoena by the Obama government. The announcement is a good move, for it revealed a troubling aspect of cloud-based data.
Twitter and other data storage providers are not allowed to tell the owners of the data that the subpoena exists. Paul Carr of TechCrunch reports:
The New York Times says over 50,000 “national security letters” are sent each year -- but even more concerning is the fact that often these subpoenas are sealed, preventing the companies from notifying the users they affect.
When the data resides on your computer, then you are alerted, should the government demand to see your data. When it's on the cloud, you are not allowed to be alerted. Twitter is trying to get the courts to at least let the owners of the data be notified.
As I keep harping, this is why the personal computer became so popular: so that we could be in charge of own own data, no longer victims of the foibles and vagaries of the mainframe gatekeepers. Some people apparently wish to return to such a time.