Technology

Cloud Services Slowly Being Forced on Consumers

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More and more tech companies are pushing users to store their content in "cloud" services, which are basically online depositories.

Originally made popular by Dropbox.com, these cloud services offer a certain amount of storage space for free, but then start charging users for extra files.

Cloud services are offered by Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and other big (and small) players on the web. iPhones and Android phones are also getting in on cloud services, which were originally a convenient option.

However, Scientific American notes that some large tech companies are slowly eliminating the option for users not to use cloud storage.

Apple's new operating system Mavericks does not allow to users to sync their computer’s calendar or address book with an iPhone or tablet. Now, you can only sync your content via an Apple iCloud account.

With Windows 8 and 8.1, you can log on to your PC with either a local account on your computer or an online Microsoft account.

But without an online Microsoft account, you can't access SkyDrive or download apps from the Windows store.

What the web giants don't tell you is that cloud users are at the mercy of these corporations to access their own content. If a cloud site goes down, so does access to your content.

There is also the issue of privacy. Amazon landed a $600 million contract to create a private cloud for the CIA in 2013, reports InformationWeek.com. But will this new relationship compromise the security and privacy of other Amazon cloud users?

Apple, Google and Microsoft are also in possession of user's cloud content, which could be secretly accessed by the (National Security Agency) NSA. The agency's covert, mass spying activities have all cloud companies concerned about losing business, according to CRN.com.

The Independent reported in 2013, "All personal information stored by British internet users on major 'cloud' computing services including Google Drive can be spied upon routinely without their knowledge by US authorities under newly-approved legislation."

Sources: InformationWeek.com, Scientific American, The Independent, CRN.com

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