For several decades, the pace of technology development has continued to accelerate. Technologies that used to take years to see significant adoption now seem to happen overnight and the number of things that get integrated together keeps rising. But it seems equally important that everything we buy becomes obsolete as quickly as possible so that we will have to buy a new product every couple of years – just to keep up. We used to pity our parents when they could not understand these new fangled devices, and it is clear that our children tend to gravitate towards different things than we do at times. Maybe it is a sign that we are now becoming that generation that will have pity piled on us before much longer. Maybe, maybe not, but I know that I still enjoy and appreciate much of it, even though sometimes I may be slower on the uptake than I used to be.
But there are a couple of things recently that I just don’t get. I cannot see the sense in them and I cannot understand how they are ultimately going to help me. The first of these is The Cloud. So they promise to offer me unlimited processing power and unlimited storage. Big deal! Disk is so cheap that I can buy Terabytes of storage for less than 10 cents per gigabyte and it can be connected at Gigabit per second communications speeds. Now yes, I still have a data security concern in that if my house were to be destroyed, I would lose all of my data and backups, but that doesn’t make me want “The Cloud”. It makes me want to be able to have a disk located somewhere else, that I can access through my backup software. If and when that is not enough space, I can add another disk. I expect that disk would probably be at a friend’s house – someone who I trust, but it could also have hardware security built into it as well so that all of the data is encrypted. Does such a thing exist? I haven’t been able to find such a product, but if anyone knows about it, please let me know. And as for unlimited processing power – what do I need that for? The amount of time it would take to get data there and back is probably more than I would save, especially since the most computer centric things I do are photo processing etc.
That brings me onto the second issue and that is security and privacy. I do not want to give my data to an unknown 3rd party who just tells me to trust them. How do I know that their security can be trusted? How do I know that my data won’t land in the hands of someone else? How do I know that someone wont, one day, be mining that data – anonymously of course – and providing that information to people I don’t even know for who knows what purpose! Today was the same as usual with news of another hacker getting into an established company and messing with their data. Why is data in The Cloud going to be any more secure than financial transactions data, or personnel data?
But it is not just about data security – the security issue is beginning to pop up everywhere. For example – GM vehicles contain OnStar. I do not believe that I can trust OnStar, or at least GM has not done enough to convince me that the system is secure. I have seen the reports about the system being used to track stolen vehicles. I have seen it being used to stop a car that police were pursuing – and who knows what else they can do. Now if we also start to get car-to-car networking in place, what is being done to ensure that nobody can interfere with my car? I have decided that until the car companies can persuade me of the efficacy of their security then I will not buy a car equipped with that kind of capability. It is not that I don’t understand it, it is that I don’t trust it.
So maybe that is why I will get left behind in the technology race. I am no longer willing to have blind faith in the technology being produced, especially when it concerns my safety and privacy. Younger people don’t seem to even think about these issue, but then they also don’t seem to worry about what they post on Facebook, or that what they do today will be there for an eternity, for everyone to see, and may come back to bite them later in life. Kids have no fear, teenagers think they are invincible and us old folks just want to preserve what we have – but privately.
Brian Bailey – keeping you covered.