The pendulum is swinging back to timesharing (now called cloud computing) from personal computing. But there is a darkness to this cloud with no silver lining in sight. Suddenly, the norm is shifting and using an "application" means giving other companies all your personal data to store and handle. This is a problem because the 4th amendment doesn't protect data in the hands of 3rd parties. Are we erasing a section from the bill of rights to obtain an attractive engineering solution? Cloud computing and "data portability" demonstrate some interesting contradictions. "Ease of Use" can be a bug if the thing made easy has dangers.

"User Choice" can be a bug if it excuses something scary because users were forced to check a box (which was pre-checked for them.) When you make something easy to do, you make it easy to ask for, and eventually easy to demand.

The talk discusses why the pendulum has swung back and forth, whether it will keep swinging, and what it means. Some possible technical solutions will be discussed, but for now the situation looks bleak, so where does it lead? Brad Templeton is Chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading civil rights and privacy advocacy organization in cyberspace.


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