The Dangers of Cloud Computing When Paired with Social Media

by Vincent S
With all that we have been learning in class and with the latest advances in technology, it is hard to see a downside to cloud computing.  It benefits both the cloud service provider as well as the customer as it protects copyrighted material but still allows for affordable licensing.  Not to mention the way it can change education as students could potentially have access to programs saved on a server rather then having to purchase everything in order to complete homework.  However, a recent peer reviewed article featured on JSTOR looked into at least one situation in which cloud computing can create conflicts.  In the case of social networking sites, having a centralized location to store files and photos along with other personal information has created privacy nightmares.  As we are CIS students, I am sure that everyone in our class is aware that uploaded info and files on social media sites such as facebook, flickr, photobucket, and youtube are stored in central location and of course not on your home computer.  However, how many facebook users outside of a technology major really take the time to realize the implications of having a cloud computing service as part of a public forum.  Recent studies and news articles across the country reveal that issues of privacy come about all the time.  This being the case, why do we engage in such risky behavior when conducting business with social media?

I found this journal article very interesting and felt it was very relevant to things we constantly talk about in class.  In our CIS classes, we always talk about how great cloud computing is and how it is the face of the positive aspects of globalization.  But, we never talk about the downside of cloud computing and when it can be harmful.  In the confides of a company that does not allow outside users to access their cloud service, cloud computing is a perfectly safe practice.  When cloud computing is used as part of social media, your personal info becomes extremely accessible to just about anyone.  But besides that, has anyone ever though about what facebook could potentially do with your info while its stored on their cloud service server?  Recently as we all know, facebook has finally made the transition of going public and is now available for purchase of stock.  Yet, how does a free service suddenly become able to generate income?  The article speculates (and I agree) that facebook will have to find some other way to make money rather then just depend entirely on advertising.  Many have suggested that facebook could simply sell its treasure trove of personal information to whomever they want.  Of course, identity theft is not a huge worry with facebook (unless your uploading too sensitive of information such as a social security number, which would be facebook’s fault), but it is not illegal for them to sell personal information for the sake of marketing.  This is the same for any social network site.  Other recent stories in the news include women uploading perfectly innocent bikini pics on facebook, only to discover someone found the picture through a search and used it on a pornography website or dating website half way across the world.  Due to the nature of cloud computing, that is actually not illegal.  Anytime you upload information to a public cloud service like that, you are forfeiting your right to privacy from a legal standpoint.  So do not be fooled into thinking your privacy setting is going to save you.  This is why I chose to write on this article.  Interesting things to remember next time your online.

 

Citation

Bianco, Jamie.  (2009).  Social Networking and Cloud Computing: Precarious Affordances for the “Prosumer”.  JSTOR.  Retrieved from http://0-www.jstor.org.opac.library.csupomona.edu on May 25, 2012.

2 thoughts on “The Dangers of Cloud Computing When Paired with Social Media”

  1. I have to agree with this article 100%. You have to be extremely cautious as to what is uploaded onto social media sites. the information on the sites is able to be viewed publicly and anyone can do anything with the information. As far as facebook going public i have read countless article about how they are going to have to increase the amount of money they make per user in order to keep their astronomically high market cap. A lot of the articles talk about how they could potentially use all of their data they have mined and sell it to marketing companies and this scares me. I guess this is the price people pay to use their site. Good article.

  2. Very good article. Social Media is permeating enough of our lives that eventually something is going to happen that is going to make people rethink storing massive amounts of personal information online. I mean, just by doing that you’re already giving a ton of companies free advertising demographic information, and that’s legal. Most people are unaware that this type of thing is even taking place. For a hacker with malicious intent, getting access to that much information would be like the identity theft holy grail.

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