Is privacy worth it?

Hey folks,

With the current price cut at Dropbox and the fast dropping of storage prices. I wonder if the steps to keep people out of my business are worth it.

Currently I’m running ownCloud on a VPS for $5 a month since my own in house server isn’t feasible. And for 20gigs, with a percentage of that being the OS and software. Plus I have to deal with day to day administration of it.

On the other hand I can get 1tb from either Google or Dropbox for $10 a month.

Being that I’m not a CIA operative or corporate leaker, I don’t really have anything to hide. And my understanding is that the only thing looking at my data are algorithms. As long as there aren’t people oogling pics of my kids and such I don’t really have a problem with it.

I guess I was just wondering what everyones view of privacy versus $ is. I personally am not a rich fella and hosting Tons of Data on my own isn’t in my best interest financially.

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This subject has come up a few times.

My personal view is that privacy is important and it’s a human right that many have fought for over centuries. It’s also being eroded at a scary rate. Recent governments have tried to exaggerate the risks to create a climate of fear so we are all prepared to accept less privacy in return for the unachievable promise of increased security.

This promise is a myth and many of us are sleepwalking our way towards the dystopian nightmare envisioned by George Orwell in the novel 1984. Except that he foretold only a small part of the problem: he saw that once the technology made it possible for states to track us they would want to track us all. He failed however to foresee the rise of corporations becoming bigger than states and that they would become a problem just as big if not larger.

You may want to take a look at this video on YouTube:

Cybersecurity as Realpolitik by Dan Geer presented at Black Hat USA 2014

Or check out this presentation deck from author Peter Watts at a recent “Symposium of the
International Association of Privacy Professionals”

The Scorched Earth Society: A Suicide Bombers Guide to Online Privacy

My thanks to @Boerlum and @dan for providing links to these in previous topics.


Privacy will be the next big thing. It should be possible to have the storage you want with the privacy that should be yours by right. At the moment it isn’t, unless you shop around. But getting on the bandwagon now means smugness later when everyone suddenly understands why you did it.

But is what you found even equal to what you get from the not so private solutions? It sucks, but finances are a hurdle for me and many others I’m sure.

Nothing else to add.

Don’t trust private companies to store and handle your personal data. Even if they don’t do anything bad with it, people will find a way to access this data at some point (security issues) and exploit it.

I’m told that SpiderOak is roughly the same experience as the others; it is fully private; and it’s $10/month for 100GB of storage. (Yes, this isn’t as much as the new move by Dropbox and Google, but that only happened recently, and it’s a transparent attempt to buy the pot with a large bet.)

So would you guys say don’t even host your ownCloud on a VPS owned by a private corporation?

if you are including “state actors” in the group of things you want to be private from than I can’t see how you would. with out end-to-end encryption you can’t. So just having an encrypted HD in the cloud nad say using ownCloud will not cut it. The only thing that would would be if you encrypted everything client side.

So then at that point, you could just encrypt everything before you send it to Dropbox or Drive? Then at that point the possible data thieves would at least have to break your encryption.

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And if you where a member some time ago there was an offer from SpiderOak of $150 a year for unlimited storage. I am not sure how much “unlimted” will eventually turn out to be but I bet it is a lot :stuck_out_tongue:

If you’re using Ubuntu, then may be useful here; once set up, it gives you a perfectly normal-looking folder named Private into which you put your files, but those files are actually stored encrypted, in the folder .Private (note the dot). So you sync the .Private folder with Dropbox/OwnCloud/whatever and it will be syncing the encrypted versions of the files… but you use the stuff in Private and it doesn’t look encrypted to you at all.

He doth protest to much…

[Parzzix walks into a pub and sits himself down at the bar.]

Parzzix: “Hey, barkeep! I’ll take one non-alcoholic sarsaparilla, if you please! Oh! I almost forgot to mention that I am totally not a CIA operative. I’m totally serious. Why would I even mention it if I were? How weird would that be, am I right? Anyway. Good times. Hey, barkeep. You hear anything about any possible attempts at overthrowing the federal government by any chance?”

Hey now Bryan…don’t make us pay attention to you :wink:

So I may try Bittorrent sync or syncthing. I have an old laptop and 1tb usb drive I could use as my backup…just leave it running in the house all the time. Maybe…doesn’t solve offsite backup.

Great topic for discussion, @parzzix!

I agree with @sil that privacy is going to be the next major thing - right now privacy features are added by major services due to either (a) shitstorms, or (b) privacy issues being a tense topic in that area. I think as we move forward we will see privacy features being a key selling point for people.

I think what will change this is a major event. There will be an insane hack or compromise that will change the way we think about privacy. Until then, privacy and the discussions therein will be divided between two camps - the privacy obsessed and those who just want their stuff to be safe don’t take a super-paranoid world-view.

There is one aspect to consider. I mentioned this on another post, that a persons activities has, in some parts of the globe, been labeled “extremist”, no matter what the activities of the persons group may be, be it social, political or religious. Now, with that “extremist” label and with quick legislation against such groups, the authorities will start looking into everything they can to find information on such groups and who is in them. That may include the family photos stored on a cloud service. Or whatever else is there.

A person might think, ‘well, I live in a country that guarantees the ‘rights’ of a person.’ It is very easy for a government to get around it’s own constitution. This thinking ‘I have nothing to hide so why worry’, of which I really don’t have anything to hide either, can bite us. Badly.


[quote=“oldgeek, post:16, topic:4088”]
I have nothing to hide[/quote]

Are you sure I’m convinced your that super hero Analogue man.

Seriously though I’m sure we all have something to hide, something we would rather not have public knowledge. OK I admit it – I once went to see Robbie Williams live – the girl I took was, in my opinion at least, particularly attractive but that doesn’t excuse me letting my musical standards fall so low.

For most of us it will just be embarrassing and I’m sure there are things the bad voltage presenters are hoping nobody has found and included in their entries for the Maaashed Voltage competition.

For some people however, it’s not just a little embarrassing, and as @oldgeek said can lead to real trouble for the individuals involved and there families.

Isn’t that “bolting the stable door after horse as bolted?” We need to be proactive here. If we choose to have a public presence, even it’s only by posting to a few forums, that’s one thing but we do have control over the information we choose to release.

Other information, such as personal e-mails, internet search history, etc. needs to be protected.

I don’t think that @jonobacon’s point is that we should post everything everywhere and wait for the compromise to happen; it’s the same thing I believe, which is that public interest in privacy as a concept will require some big event to happen. Piously explaining about GPG keysigning parties isn’t convincing anyone. However, when the big thing does happen, there will be projects already in existence which will suddenly become more relevant because everyone will want them. But bear in mind that this is early days. What we’re seeing now is good, but in the grand history of how privacy became important again in the latter part of the 2010s, everything you see now will be the ICQ of privacy software.

My concern is not so much if someone will see the photos I have in Dropbox (clouds, sunrises, sunsets and flowers) or read the gushy emails I send to my wife that will make anyone a true bulimic, but that they probably do have access to them. I guess that is what I meant by saying “I have nothing to hide”.

An example that I heard (I cannot remember what show, and am having a hard time finding a reference, so this is very suspect) is that some state in the USA is starting to use the information from grocery reward cards to send reminders and such to the holder of those cards about their diet habits. While this may be suspect, it is not out of reasonable reality. At what point do governments or insurance companies start mining the data from such cards (or other programs) and will influence their policies towards you?

We tend to think of our data as to what is on our phones, computer or other device, or what is on the internet. There is a lot of data about us out there that over which we really don’t have much control, irregardless of what ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt-out’ we might have signed or okayed. Data that some entities, legal entities, would just love to get a hold of.

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