The asserted revelations of the national spy apparatus has created an interesting set of conundrums for business and individuals. Putting away the trivialities of those who say “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about.” There are those who say I lock my doors because I don’t trust you anymore than I trust the police. So, what is the person who wants to know when an agency has set their eye on them to do? With corporate national secret letters process you won’t know until they desire to tell you. Which may be never.
I think the entire problem set I’ve only glossed over will be answered by a couple of new technologies. I think things like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Storage, and Microsoft Azure will be around for a long time. What will come along next is large-scale, personal, home-based, digital storage devices. Much like the Western Digital MyCloud storage appliance. Though the Western Digital offering is a close call on answering this problem space. It doesn’t have the ability to instantly integrate with all of the applications on an iPhone or Android device yet. It also is providing authentication and credentials through it’s own radius style server which means government agents might be able to access files stored in your home through the Western Digital Servers. I’m not sure about that, but it seems to be possible to at least exploit your credentials themselves fairly easily.
This type of storage when the channels of communication are protected means that your digital assets are better protected by fourth amendment rights since they reside in your home or on your property. Of course, there are always the risks of physical loss (fire, flood, theft) that are inherent in any home situation. Those can be partially alleviated but are not a concern to most people who would be worried about privacy at all costs. There are other mitigations in play since the device could be hidden physically and only accessed remotely thereby making physical exploitation and seizure a near impossibility without having a configured client to find it first. The use of TOR and other systems could keep such a system fairly well hidden.
I do think there is a place for products that take this kind of scenario and starts to play out the ramifications and I think we will see these products becoming ubiquitous quickly. The Western Digital MyCloud appliance shows that 8tb need only take up a tiny amount of shelf space. Add that storage to something like the configuration of a wireless access point, keep the streaming features, back up features, and then protect it from external compromise and you have a heck of a product. Even better yet use crpto to encrypt the entire storage volume and make theft and seizure less of a a risk.
There have been corporate solutions along this line of thinking for awhile. What we’re talking about now is a personal home appliance. That is a heck of a product if anybody figures out how to do it well. A Microsoft of Apple could easily add this to their hardware and software ecosystem. Apple tried with half hearted will by creating the Time Capsule but it was mostly a miss having none of the advance features discussed here.
If nothing else this will be an interesting space to watch.