EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.14.13

In This Age of Fog/Cloud (Surveillance-Friendly) Computing, Can OwnCloud Be Trusted?

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spooks love the fog as it lets them spy on people without the people knowing about it

Fog

Summary: Looking at the problems with “cloud” (fog) computing, even when it is driven by Free software and is self-hosted

Fog Computing is one of the most disturbing emerging trends. It’s often proprietary by design (no access to source code) and it is a lot worse because it’s remotely controlled (no control over the binaries, either). Red Hat's embrace of OpenStack represents a strategic shift wherein Red Hat facilitates the deployment of Fog Computing by other companies [1]. It’s not Red Hat which does the violations, but oftentimes the companies which Red Hat helps will go on violating people’s privacy and dignity (Amazon for instance).

OpenStack is one of those cases where one has access to source code, but one cannot verify that this code is actually what’s executed as there is no access to the binaries (for the client side). Microsoft partners like Citrix are also embracing OpenStack [2], which sure enjoys growing influence [3]. It’s better to use something that’s Free/Open Source than something that’s proprietary, but when the code runs remotely, it is still far from freedom-respecting, unless of course it’s self-hosted, in which case NSA surveillance of OpenStack instances (possible [4]) is getting hard.

There is only one project that I know fulfills the above needs. It is the Germany-based OwnCloud [5,6,7], which has roots in SUSE (the key staff). The problem is, this project’s code has had a lot of vulnerabilities which basically would be easy for the NSA to exploit and gain access to servers. MEGA is said to be privacy-respecting, but it is proprietary and Flash-based. This option too has been found to have security vulnerabilities.

So the bottom line is this: keep your sensitive data on the local disk, stored by a reliable system like GNU/Linux. This data should not shipped without encryption (e.g. SSH) down a wire unless it only moved locally (within local network or hub). In this age of personal targeting, politically-motivated smears, espionage, etc. we need to protect our personal data. If we didn’t have anything to hide, we wouldn’t mind uploading our entire hard drives to be made publicly accessible by all, right? Well, not really. Apparently, even if you’re doing nothing wrong, you still need privacy. The NSA doesn’t give a damn about that.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Red Hat Delivers More Tools, Services for Enterprise OpenStack

    Red Hat has a sterling reputation for advancing and supporting Linux in the enterprise, but the company is structuring much of its future growth around cloud computing, and OpenStack in particular. The company has recently announced the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service certification program for OpenStack, a deepening partnership with Canonical and Ubuntu surrounding the new Havana release of OpenStack, and more.

  2. Citrix Embraces ‘Anyness’ and the OpenStack Cloud

    VIDEO: The general manager of Citrix’s cloud efforts explains how his firm both supports and competes against the open-source OpenStack cloud.

  3. OpenStack Summit Highlights Cloud’s Global Influence

    The open-source OpenStack Foundation held its semiannual Design Summit here Nov. 5-8, discussing all manner of topics related to the cloud. As the first OpenStack Summit held outside of the United States, the event had a strong emphasis throughout on the global nature of the OpenStack cloud platform and, more specifically, the high levels of interest, participation and deployment of the platform in China. According to data released at the Hong Kong event, China is now home to more OpenStack developers than anywhere else in the world. China is also home to some of the largest OpenStack deployments on Earth, including one with Qihoo 360, a Beijing-based online security and mobile vendor. Qihoo 360 is using OpenStack to provide cloud-based security for 450 million user

  4. OpenStack Cloud Vendors Vigilant in the Face of NSA Snooping

    The Edward Snowden revelations about NSA snooping in the cloud are not having an impact on OpenStack cloud vendors, including Rackspace and Dreamhost.

  5. Why I love OwnCloud: answer to Dropbox lock-in

    I recently covered the release of Dropbox platform and my thoughts on the impending cloud storage lock-in. I was also fortunate enough to run across what the guys over at NimbusBase are doing over the weekend. They seem to be the answer to the open API for mobile and web applications, providing a cross-cloud storage layer and a GPL reference implementation while they do it. I also penned a few thoughts on their model.

  6. Own Your Data with OwnCloud
  7. Pure open source, open standard based Google Docs, iWork, Office 365 competitor arrives
Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Make Nothing, Sue Everybody: The Reality of Patent Trolls Increasingly Understood by the 'Mainstream'

    New patent stories and even extensive coverage at PBS, which dedicated a whole program to these matters but failed to address the core issue, which is software patenting



  2. [ES] Advertencia: La Vigilancia de la EPO Surveillance Puede Haberse Convertido en Más Intrusiva

    BlueCoat, que la EPO usa para oprimir a sus empleados en sus premisas Europeas, acaba de ajustar más y hacerse más intrusiva y los empleados pueden estar en riesgo



  3. [ES] Tarjeta de Victima Termina en Otra Torpeza para Battistelli Seis de su Guardia Pretoriana

    Battistelli esta destruyéndo lo que queda de la reputación de la EPO (después de las décadas que le costó a ella construírla) mientras los medios continúan escrutinando su desastroso régimen



  4. [ES] La EPO esta Excelente, Dice Sitio de ‘Noticias’ Conectado a Ella

    Los caraduras de la ‘revista’ IAM, viejo aliado de la EPO, da la impresión a la gente de que en la EPO todo esta bien y dandy aunque claramente ese no es el caso



  5. New EPO Caricature: Nouveaux Garde-Vélo (New Bicycle Guards)

    A new cartoon poking fun at Battistelli's bicycles and the perceived threat these are under



  6. Battistelli's 'Special Relationship' With Portugal and the 'Inventor of the Year' Charade

    What makes Portugal rather unique when it comes to Mr. Battistelli, who is allegedly desperate for support from smaller countries whose vote is easier to 'win'



  7. Patent Lawyers' Marketing Dominates and Marginalises Meaningful Analyses of Software Patenting in the US

    In an effort to create demand for software patents again, patent lawyers produce a huge heap of so-called 'analyses' which piggyback just one single decision (the exception, not the norm)



  8. A Mix of Patent Aggression and Sanctions/Raids (Using Controversial Patents) Against East Asian Companies

    New stories that demonstrate patent protectionism and show how Western industry, which barely makes anything anymore, relies on patents (software and design patents included) and this self-serving patent regime perpetuates itself even in Asia, where almost everything is actually being manufactured (and often/increasingly designed/developed too)



  9. Rumour: Battistelli Wants to Extend the Term of Topić's EPO Appointment in Spite of Criminal Charges Against Him

    The EPO's 'ringleader', Mr. Battistelli, is trying to keep his confidants (like Mr. Minnoye and Željko Topić) together for several more years to come, even defying rules regarding retirement age



  10. Links 29/5/2016: NetBSD 7.0.1, Genode OS 16.05

    Links for the day



  11. [ES] La Gerencia de la EPO Bajo Creciénte Estres por las Autoridades Legales Croatas, Políticas Alemanas, y los Medios Italianos

    Las cosas no son color rosa como la calma relativa sugiere, y esperamos en las próximas semanas mayores eventos otros que la protesta en todas las sedes de la EPO a través de Europa



  12. [ES] Los Medios de Comunicación Comienzan a Informar al Público Europeo Acercas de las Desventájas de la UPC Mientras que la EPO Acelera su Cabildeo por Ratificación

    La vergonzósa promoción de la UPC por parte de la EPO da otro paso adelánte mientras que venues de la prensa Europea (incluso canales de televisión) comienzan a explorar el arreglo secreto que es negociado por los abogados de patentes (con clientes corpórativos) y las oficinas de patentes, no el público o cualquier grupo que represente los intereses del público en general



  13. [ES] Algunos Detalles Acerca de ¿Cómo el Presidente de la EPO Es Rumoreado Estar Comprando Votos, y el Porqué es Suficientemente Base Para un Despido Inmediato?

    Algo de información tras las cortinas y una detallada explicación de la dependencia finánciera sistemática, creada por Battistelli a un costode €13 millónes o más, la cuál evita una efectiva supervisión de Battistelli



  14. Mishi Choudhary and Mike Masnick Explain Why India Should Reject Software Patents

    Both an Indian activist-lawyer and a widely-recognised author from the US explain to Indians why over-reliance on patents -- and acceptance of patents on software in particular -- is a very bad idea



  15. Microsoft Boosters Pretend Microsoft Fights for Privacy While the Company Uses Malware Tactics to Put Keyloggers on Everyone's Computers

    In spite of malware-inspired tactics that should land Microsoft in courts of law all around the world (as a defendant), Microsoft-friendly circles pretend that the company fights for people's rights like privacy -- all this when Microsoft installs keyloggers on people's PCs without their consent and obviously against their will



  16. Battistelli's Assault on EPO Staff's Right to Strike in Relation to French Politics and That 'Bicycle' Pretext for Crackdowns

    The latest bicycle 'gossip' and how it's being used, based on expectations from EPO staff, to introduce further crackdowns on human/labour rights



  17. Vice-President of the EPO Under Investigation: Treason, Abuse, Violations, Giving and Receiving Bribes

    An English translation of documents involving the Organised Crime Section of the Criminal Police Department in Zagreb, where the Vice-President of the EPO faces criminal charges



  18. EPO Management Warns People About Scams When the EPO's Management is Itself Falling for Scams

    Jesper Kongstad, the Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, helps demonstrate that not even the EPO is intelligent enough to spot an obvious scam



  19. Links 28/5/2016: Wine 1.9.11, New Gentoo

    Links for the day



  20. Links 27/5/2016: Android for Raspberry Pi, Google Beats Oracle in Court

    Links for the day



  21. Warning: EPO Surveillance May Have Just Gotten Even More Intrusive

    BlueCoat, which the EPO uses to enable oppression inside its European premises, has just gotten even nastier and staff may be at risk



  22. Victim Card Ends up in Another Blunder for Battistelli and His Six Bodyguards

    Battistelli is wrecking what's left of the EPO's reputation (after decades it took the Office to earn it) as the media continues to scrutinise his appalling regime



  23. Italian Report About EPO Now Available in English

    An English translation of a TV program which earlier this month documented some of the glaring problems at the EPO



  24. The EPO is Doing Great, Says EPO-Connected 'News' Site

    IAM 'magazine', a longtime ally of the EPO, gives people the impression that all is fine and dandy at the EPO even though that's clearly not the case



  25. Microsoft Has Killed Nokia (and Its Own Mobile Ambitions), But Watch What it Does With Patents

    Microsoft announces many more layoffs, having already caused tremendous damage to the Finnish economy, and patents are left astray for Microsoft's favourite patent trolls to pick



  26. EPO Management Under Growing Stress From Croatian Law Enforcement Authorities, German Politicians, Italian Media

    Things are not as rosy as the relative calm may suggest, and in the coming weeks we expect some major events other than the protest at all EPO sites across Europe



  27. Microsoft, a Dead Company Walking, Resorts to Malware Tactics, Now Truly Indistinguishable From Crackers

    Microsoft is essentially taking over people's PCs and installing on them a large piece of malware, complete with keyloggers, against the will of these PCs' owners



  28. Links 26/5/2016: CentOS Linux 6.8, Ansible 2.1

    Links for the day



  29. The Latest EPO Victim Card (Played by Željko Topić) Should be Treated as Seriously as Those Bogus Claims of Violence by a Judge (Updatedx3)

    In its desperate pursuit of a narrative wherein the staff of the EPO is violent and aggressive the management of the EPO, renowned for institutional aggression, finds (or claims to have found) a little tampering with a bicycle



  30. Links 25/5/2016: Nginx 1.11, F1 2015 Coming to GNU/Linux Tomorrow

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts