We should all be in awe of cloud computing – this new system of using the world wide web to access, share, modify, create, etc. Its usefulness in the digital world might be compared to that of electricity itself. Like electricity, web applications and the Web 2.0 in general have become a method and tool on which to rely. However, could a cloud computing model also be as much of a vulnerability to us as our electricity-dependent society?
Dr. James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation wrote an article inspired by Bill Graham, former science advisor to President Reagan and deputy adminstrator to NASA, in which the effects of an electromagnetic pulse weapon would effect our society which relies on electricity so much:
In fact, what happened was not on Earth. It was above it. A nuclear weapon has detonated high over North America, an explosion so far up that neither the flash nor bang disturbed anyone slumbering in darkened bedrooms across the United States. Electrical systems and computers from New York City to San Francisco cease to function. City streets turn into chaos. Fires break out, and no communications are available to send trucks to fight them. The sick and injured perish in overwhelmed, energy-sapped hospitals. Survivors, unable to fill their gas tanks, slowly walk away from the dead zone, unsure where to go or what they will find.
There is no need to alarmed by this because the United States does have preventative measures for now and the future. The the fact remains that there is a lot of risk in putting all of our faith into one thing; the same applies to cloud computing. There is personal information stored in this utility so it is reasonable to worry about the holes in the web. Is your log-in information secure? Are there logs that record everything you do? Who else access to the information you put bring into the cloud computing tool? Or even, where is that information stored? We don’t know where it is stored and the parties which have access to it under whatever conditions. Did you know that Google gave up the information of a blogger who was to be charged in a defamation case?
I hope that as cloud computing itself expands, the privacy and security of it increases as well – kind of like computers and the variety of present-day anti-virus programs. That is probably better than having armed guards at every server and hub. Now excuse me while I check my Gmail account…