America · Computers

So, the cloud

I had intended to follow up my last post with a long, informative piece about where the various cloud hosting providers were registered and where they kept their data.

I had hoped to work out how to escape from the situation in which all of my personal and business data is being provided to foreign authorities that consider me, my company, and my customers to have no legal existence except as surveillance targets.

But I can’t do it.

The short answer seems to be that every cloud document hosting, music sharing, email hosting, code hosting, or online office applications company you have ever heard of is either an American company, or using American hosting, or both. If you are not an American citizen, information about you is being used by American security authorities, and you have no legal standing that might allow you to question how it is used.

And in any case, if you’re British like me, your own government has also engaged in all sorts of baroque deals to make its own internet data available to the American security authorities, and then to share the analysis results without any of the legal obligations.

I think that I have nothing to hide from any legal authority, and it’s incumbent on people like me to help to make the point by moving away from those authorities that we can no longer depend on. But it’s not easy to do.

For what it’s worth, I have moved my email hosting from Google mail (American company, American hosting, named in NSA leaks) to (Australian company, American hosting, not yet named in an NSA leak)—a marginal improvement.

And I’ve moved all of my web hosting—apart from this blog!—from Rackspace (American company, American hosting) to Hetzner (German company, German hosting). Perhaps next we’ll learn a bit more about the German government’s own monitoring apparatus.

It’s not enough.