A Threat to Online Privacy

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Introduction

Since the advent of technology, so many things have changed and very many aspects of life have been made easier. However, technology just like all other aspects in life is a two edged sword. It is like the two sides of a coin. With all the advantages it has, there is a downside side to it. One aspect of technology is clod computing. This is a technological concept that allows different users to use simplified computing services by sharing a vast or wide network. Besides allowing different users to access various services at the same time, it also frees users from having to deal with technical bits of computers like installation of software and maintenance of hardware. However due to the aspect of sharing that characterizes cloud computing, it has been argued that this technological advancement could be a threat to online privacy. This discussion seeks to establish how true this claim is.

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How it works

When we talk of a cloud, the cloud in this case has been used metaphorically to refer to a cluster or a big group of computers that have been connected or networked to work as though it was just one computer (Herrero 187). When a computer is part of a cloud, it is not possible for one to know where exactly certain information has been stored because the cloud is quite vast. Once information has already been stored in the cloud, it is now belongs to organisations like Amazon and the user will no longer have possession to that information.

Risks Involved

Reduced Employment Opportunities

One of the disadvantages that has been raised regarding cloud computing is the fact that since it brings an element of consolidation as far as monitoring of data and other systems is concerned, there will be less administrators needed to conduct the monitoring. Consequently, this means there are some people who will lose their jobs as only a few administrators will be needed. Besides this threat to having employment opportunities decreased which is a threat that is posed by almost every concept of technology, there is yet another problem of intrusion of privacy through the sharing of networks.

Interception of Personal Information

By using cloud, computing, there is a high likelihood, that information that is personal could be intercepted and people may use the information in their hands to steal the identity of others. A good example would be un regard to bank details of a person, information regarding credit cards, records of a person’s medical history among others. If a person stored such information in their computer which is part of a vast network of computers, it is possible that such information may be intercepted and a person may use the information to access various services while posing as the real owner. There is fear that a lot of falsification may be conducted and people may be robbed off the money in their bank accounts and their medical records tampered with as a result of cloud computing.

Loophole for hackers

Cloud computing also provides an easy way out for hackers. While it 9is still possible to hack information stored on individual computers, it is even easier when the information to be hacked is being obtained from a single machine. Cloud computing therefore has been cited as a sort of loophole of hackers who will have an easy time manipulating people’s information without being easily detected (Cline 54).

Lack of Proper Laws

Another issue that has been raised as far as cloud computing is concerned is that there are no laws governing the issue of cloud computing and some of the actions that one may take if they realise that there has been a compromise. What is currently in places are polices that are ambiguous and vague and therefore do not address the issues that may arise in an elaborate manner. When the concept of cloud computing was first developed, adoption become a challenge as the issue of security had not been resolved. A couple down the line after the concept was adopted, the issue of security is yet to be addressed and this is worrying because it seems most of the users may end up as victims who may not have a place to turn to for redress.

Abuse of Freedom

There is also the fear that since cloud computing gives so much freedom to the users, they are likely to abuse that freedom hence negating the purpose for which the concept was established. People are likely to carry out some activities that are not allowed since it will not be easy for administrators to exactly know the origin of such activities. The other issue is the fact that interfaces may not be secure as there are many and different people accessing them freely at will. This therefore reduces the security and privacy that users have on such interfaces (.

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In every society, there are always people with ulterior motives who conduct themselves maliciously at the expense of other people. There is thus the fear that when using could computing there may be some insiders who may act maliciously thus preventing the intended success of this technological concept. It is even harder to curb such conduct especially when the sabotage is coming from within. When insiders sabotage, such a concept, there is the risk of having the information of users exposed to other people and this will deprive the users of their much needed privacy especially when it comes to sensitive matters like finances.

Stolen Concepts

There is yet another challenge that most companies especially those dealing with technology have raised and have seen them vehemently oppose the concept of cloud computing. This is the issue of having to share various technological concepts. For companies dealing with communication and other issues of technology concepts are the key pillars of ensuring that a company remains competitive by outdoing its competitors (Herold 315). However, the use of cloud computing will see companies having to share these technological concepts and this will mean that other companies in the same field may copy the ideas leading to a replication. This is a very big issue that may see many companies get badly affected.

Cloud computing has the advantage of freeing the user from having to store information in various devices as data is stored in one major system. This however is a disadvantage in that since there is no back up, information can easily get lost and it will be very hard and at times impossible to be able to retrieve such information. It will therefore be very risky especially if the information lost was very crucial. Such information, being stored on such a large database could be easily leaked and this takes away the aspect of privacy and confidentially which some of this information ought to be regarded with (Henderson 254).

The other side of the coin

Cloud computing is not entirely a bad concept. It is through this concept that companies have managed to save greatly since the manpower required is reduced as a lot of work can be done by the computers. There is also the aspect of efficiency in that since computers are machines, they tend to be more efficient than human beings. More data is also stored than would be the case if personal computers were to be used. Cloud computing has greater flexibility which the traditional methods of computing do not offer. Also with cloud computing is convenience in that employees can check information from far away locations and there is no need o keep making updates on the system regularly and thus the IT department of a company is able to focus on their core work.

Conclusion

Cloud computing is undoubtedly the next big thing as a far as technology is concerned. As a matter of fact experts have likened this technological concept to the internet which is seen to provide a wide array of information to its users while at the same time giving the users freedom to access the different types of information at their convenience. However, the issue of privacy seems to be constantly haunting this brilliant concept so much so that that there may be difficulties as far as penetration of the concept in new markets is concerned (Conti 94). The pioneers of this great idea had a great vision but is it also paramount that they quickly address the issued of threatened privacy if the idea is to be of benefit to the users. Otherwise, there is an anticipation of sabotage of this great idea if these issues are not addressed and quickly at that.

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Works Cited

Cline, Mychilo. Virtual Reality: A Catalyst for Social and Economic Change. London: Mychilo Cline, 2005.

Conti, Greg. Googling Security: How Much Does Google Know About You?. London: Wiley and Sons, 2009.

Herrero, Alvaro. Computational Intelligence in Security for Information Systems London: Sage, 2010.

Henderson, Harry. Encyclopaedia of Computer Science and Technology, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Herold, Rebecca. Managing and Information and Privacy Awareness and Training Program. New York: CRC Press, 2010.

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