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Your data is your data, BUT…is it really?

“Our policy is simple: your data is your data. Period. We will not access, transfer or deliver data stored on servers by our customers except in response to a properly issued, lawful order … from a court with appropriate jurisdiction over Rackspace and the data sought.” - Perry Robinson, vice president of legal and associate general counsel at Rackspace.

This quote by Rackspace comes in response to the concerns by many companies that US based cloud providers (in general) are sharing customer data with the US government willy nilly.  In an article on Cloud Pro, Robinson is also cited as saying, “By contract and in practice, Rackspace’s customers have full control over their servers and any data that may be stored on those servers. Rackspace does not have that control,” further explaining that US authorities cannot demand data stored in the company’s UK data centers and vice versa, BUT, while Rackspace will challenge court orders and warrants, their challenge may be struck down forcing them to hand over data in compliance with local law.

It is interesting to think about how the proximity of data has ushered in an entirely new belief system on who actually owns data.  In Rackspace’s case, they content we still do, but it’s not entirely under our control.  If you think about it, this has been happening for years in marketing.  Almost everything you do on the internet ends up in some database somewhere and you become a target for brands based on where you have been, what you have purchased, what you tweeted, shared on Facebook, clicked on, etc. Is it because the data is in a US government database versus a marketing database make it any scarier, or wrong for that matter?

That’s the philosophical question.  Do we really care that Google or Facebook knows more about us than we realize, or that they share such information without asking us?  In the era of cloud, big data, social media, data means everything. It’s the lifeblood of a company. It just may also be the lifeblood of what keeps us all safe in the long run, or if you are a conspiracy theorist, it’s simply the lifeblood of a political establishment ;)

What’s your take? 

 

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