Stallman: cloud computing is a trap

Carsten Agger agger at
Sun Oct 5 18:08:50 UTC 2008

søn, 05 10 2008 kl. 13:38 +0200, skrev Thomas Pfeffer:

> 7) Basically, I think Stallman argues from the perspective of a computer specialist, 
> who is able to control and maintain any web-application himself. I wonder if it would
>  be possible for the FSFE to define criteria for identifying web-applications (and providers)
>  that are no trap, that allow even average users to keep control. 

I'm just a private citizen and can't speak for anybody but myself, but
here's a few ideas:

> How could trustworthy
>  web-applications and web-services look like? 

Technically, community web applications and web services (not Web-2.0
behemoths like Google or Flickr) - might be built on something akin to
TOR or bittorent - everybody participating might donate some bandwidth
and (say) a gigabyte of space, and the data might be encrypted and
accessed through decentralized, anonymous peer-to-peer processes.

> What is good practice for a web host? 

* You own your data and they may never be accessed for other purposes
than designated by you (violated by Google, who skim your emails to
serve ads - violated by Facebook and others, in that they presume
"ownership" over everything you write and all pictures you post). 

* You must be able to encrypt your data and decrypt it on the client
side, i.e. without ever supplying the private key to the service
provider. (Violated by all Web 2.0 applications)

* You must be able to delete your data, and when you've deleted them,
you must be confident that your data are physically gone and can never
be recovered (violated by Google in Gmail - violated by Facebook, which
doesn't even allow you to delete your profile).

* The communication between you and the application must always support
strong encryption (supported by most if not all Web 2.0 applications)

> Is there room for public, non-proprietary systems of web-services and how should they look like?

Tor is an example of one, I believe, even if it's only an anonymizer. Wikipedia might be considered an example, as might Savannah. 

Like I said, it might be possible to create a non-commercial P2P infrastructure with a number of alternative, community organized Web services - a "community cloud", if you wish.



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