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Watch what you store on SkyDrive–you may lose your Microsoft life (wmpoweruser.com)
320 points by yread 643 days ago | comments


rickmb 643 days ago | link

So Microsoft is peeking into private folders, and judging the contents based on political and religious values not inscribed in any law? And completely terminates all Microsoft service to anyone found wanting to obey by these fundamentalist directives?

The warning should not be "watch what you store on SkyDrive", the warning should be "stay the hell away from Microsoft".

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shabda 643 days ago | link

From the code of conduct.: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-live/code-of-cond...

> provides or creates links to external sites that violate this Code of Conduct.

Along with

> depicts nudity of any sort including full or partial human nudity or nudity in non-human forms such as cartoons, fantasy art or manga.

So linking to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturism would be enough to get banned, no?

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einhverfr 643 days ago | link

"nudity in non-human forms"

Does that mean that in photos, chimps must wear clothes?

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politician 643 days ago | link

It probably means "flesh tones that our CV algorithms would flag as illicit" -- that is, they are probably prohibiting you from storing images that would create false positives.

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einhverfr 643 days ago | link

To be honest, I think these clauses are broadly worded so they can suspend anyone's account and come up with a justification after the fact.

Note the prohibition of advocating pornography and expressing hatred.

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tluyben2 643 days ago | link

Why don't they just put: "We can ban your account without prior notice for any reason we see fit."

Tons of services have that.

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RobAtticus 643 days ago | link

The explained what they meant by that. Non-human seems like a poor term though, perhaps "non-photo" would be closer to what they mean?

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einhverfr 643 days ago | link

I assumed they meant, like, bare-breasted elfs. And presumably you can have a photo of a stallion with certain parts visible but can't have a similar painting of a centaur....

Either way it becomes very difficult to draw lines.

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kijin 643 days ago | link

No need to go that far. Try linking to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Creation_of_Adam

Now I need to go warn a family member who majored in art history.

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nickzoic 642 days ago | link

Hey ... I'm partially nude right now, both arms all the way up to my elbows!

I prefer my private data to be "clothed" in an encrypted file system though.

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Auguste 643 days ago | link

The same thought crossed my mind as I read the article. How does Microsoft know what I'm storing in a private directory?

Creepy level: 110%

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Jabbles 643 days ago | link

Probably by hashing your files and comparing them to a known list of "banned content". I imagine this is one of the ways Gmail disallows child-porn or malware to be sent.

Less likely but more worryingly it could be skin-tone detection and other pornography detection algorithms with a human filter.

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regularfry 643 days ago | link

In this case they were photos the guy took himself. It's hard to see how they would have got onto a blacklist unless Microsoft put them there.

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dinkumthinkum 642 days ago | link

Naw, I think they just have cheap humans going through it. No big algorithms there. :)

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curveship 643 days ago | link

> "stay the hell away from Microsoft"

That would imply that MS is unique here -- they're not. Apple's TOS for iCloud * says it scans content and may revoke service if it finds content it deems "objectionable," "obscene" or "in poor taste" (that last one cracks me up ;) ).

If I remember right -- I'm thinking back to the kerfuffle over Google Drive's and Dropbox's TOS -- the other services have similar clauses.

* - http://www.apple.com/legal/icloud/en/terms.html

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rhplus 643 days ago | link

Dropbox policy says you must not use the service to:

+ publish or share materials that are unlawfully pornographic or indecent, or that advocate bigotry, religious, racial or ethnic hatred;

+ violate the law in any way, or to violate the privacy of others, or to defame others.

https://www.dropbox.com/acceptable_use

Apple says you can't use their service to:

a. upload, download, post, email, transmit, store or otherwise make available any Content that is unlawful, harassing, threatening, harmful, tortious, defamatory, libelous, abusive, violent, obscene, vulgar, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, or otherwise objectionable;

http://www.apple.com/legal/icloud/en/terms.html

Google doesn't seem to mention content beyond the DMCA (maybe I'm missing something):

We respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement and terminate accounts of repeat infringers according to the process set out in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

http://www.google.com/policies/terms/

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Symmetry 642 days ago | link

All those only trigger if you share your files publicly. That's fine, but what I don't want is a cloud provider looking through and judging files that I don't choose to share with others.

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zmmmmm 642 days ago | link

Perhaps there is context missing but the Apple one above refers to "uploading" and "storing". Seems like it would apply to anything you put in iCloud? And since it includes the catch-all "otherwise objectionable" it would seem to make it quite open ended, almost unusable really.

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salmanapk 643 days ago | link

But the thing is that they are (probably) not actively scanning your files for such content and those terms only come into effect if you're reported by someone.

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psteinweber 642 days ago | link

Plus "unlawfully pornographic" is a huge different to "any kind of partial nudity".

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rsync 643 days ago | link

I'll just leave these here...

http://www.rsync.net/philosophy.html

http://www.rsync.net/resources/notices/tos.html

http://www.rsync.net/resources/notices/canary.txt

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shredfvz 640 days ago | link

I was unsatisfied with your company's support to the point that I cancelled services in less than a month. I recommend against doing business with rsync.

Your support engineers aren't familiar with basic UNIX backup utilities and decline to provide support services despite your advertising holding them in such high regard. From rsync's website: "All technical support is handled by engineers that have the access, authority and expertise to solve your issue.

There are NO first level techs and no auto-responders or ticketing systems. You will always deal with a human engineer immediately.

You will receive support for all interaction you have with your rsync.net filesystem. Support is unlimited, regardless of your tool, platform or implementation."

If there's anyone using rsync who has had a different experience, feel free to speak up, but I was less than satisfied. When I saw the shameless self promotion on HN I felt compelled to give a second perspective.

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smashing 642 days ago | link

Very clever. I like this.

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powertower 643 days ago | link

I'm suprised how easily people swallow someone else's hearsay and then spray vomit it out as the truth.

For all we know that guy had a lot worse things than a couple of half nude pics in those 9GB of data.

Having followed a bunch of these types of stories on some other sites (webhostingtalk), 9 out of 10 times the "victim" is holding back so much details from the actual story that they might as well be lying.

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typicalrunt 643 days ago | link

And for all we know he had a picture of his newborn. Aren't you promoting the same hearsay?

you said: I'm suprised how easily people swallow someone else's hearsay and then spray vomit it out as the truth.

and then you said: Having followed a bunch of these types of stories on some other sites (webhostingtalk), 9 out of 10 times the "victim" is holding back so much details from the actual story that they might as well be lying.

You're contradicting yourself. You're stating hearsay (you had no direct contact with the issue of 9/10 lying people, you only heard it from webhostingtalk) and then purporting it to be true.

Regardless of whether the original author is telling the truth, it doesn't matter because that's not the point of the article. The point is that you may lose more than you know simply by being deemed a violator in the eyes of Microsoft, so it's buyer beware.

Relating to your comment: People are innocent until proven guilty in the US. If Microsoft found something that they deemed a code of conduct violation, then they can bring it up with the police or they can at least bring it up with the account owner. Maybe it was SkyDrive uploading more than he expected?

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powertower 643 days ago | link

> Aren't you promoting the same hearsay?

I'm promoting the statistical observation that there is a 90%-95% chance that these types of stories are made up.

My dataset is gathered over the last decade, from hundreds of stories, first published by the "victim", then detailed by the other party.

> so it's buyer beware

No. It's reader beware, if you want to take my comment into context.

The fact is if there is no sensationalism, then there is no story. Hence we get mostly sensationalism when we get stories. And that's not hearsay.

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Karunamon 642 days ago | link

>I'm promoting the statistical observation that there is a 90%-95% chance that these types of stories are made up.

As far as statistics go, there's a 100% percent chance you pulled that one out your arse.

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kstenerud 642 days ago | link

Care to share this dataset? Otherwise one can only consider you as trustworthy as the stories you condemn.

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jdboyd 643 days ago | link

While we can't easily confirm the truth of what happened, we should be able to confirm if the quote from the SkyDrive ToS is accurate. If it is accurate, then it is worth pointing out to people.

I don't think that private file storage services should be snooping in what I'm storing. Their limitations to what I store should be limited to what's legal (they can have stricter limitations to what I share if they want), and they shouldn't be checking every file (even automatically) to see if it looks legal.

I tried to look for the ToS, but it seems that to see them I have to first get a LiveID and agree to the LiveID ToS, so I gave up at that point.

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petitmiam 642 days ago | link

Code Of Conduct: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-AU/windows-live/code-of-cond...

Terms Of Use: http://www.microsoft.com/info/au-en/cpyright.mspx

Service Agreement: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-AU/windows-live/microsoft-se...

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jongraehl 640 days ago | link

The people objecting to this on the basis of hypocrisy are making an obvious error and should know better. The population of people complaining about how they were wronged by a corporation has different characteristics than the population of skeptical comment writers.

Stop pattern matching and start thinking.

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forgotusername 643 days ago | link

Assuming Microsoft employees are ravenously pouring over your private folders seems a little short sighted: reliable skin detection is fairly easy to accomplish, which given a folder full of photos testing positive, might get a sample flagged for review. From a cost perspective, it would make sense that the sample might not have been reviewed manually until he contacted support.

It may also have been something as simple as having too many images in the folder fuzzy matching the huge DB of porn they have (Bing and Google probably have the largest collections of all kinds of porn on the planet). This is easily done using e.g. scale-invariant feature transform.

Certainly no cause for "stay the hell away from Microsoft".

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untog 643 days ago | link

The issue here is that it's private content. Scan the stuff I make public, sure. But there is zero reason to be scanning private content- no-one other than me is going to see it.

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zmonkeyz 641 days ago | link

The other issue is who is readily available to discuss this if it happens? How do I know my emails don't just go to someone who barely speaks the language? If my Microsoft ID was locked out that's quite a few services I wouldn't have access to.

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SoapSeller 643 days ago | link

So only "a sample flagged for review" of my files will get poured over by Microsoft employees?

Still "stay the hell away from Microsoft" in my book.

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sandieman 643 days ago | link

How do Dropbox and Google Drive handle this?

I would never trust my personal files with anyone that does this type of detection/manual review.

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fffggg 643 days ago | link

Every service I've worked on doesn't look, because they don't want to know -- there's no business reason to know. Having this kind of knowledge about customer content is completely counter to the business goals.

An intelligent company will work to minimize disruption to the user. Affording the user privacy and turning a blind eye to this sort of thing goes a long way towards producing a usable product.

But, what if someone complains? What if this photo was public and resulted in a complaint?

Even then, the idea that an entire account should be suspended over a TOS violation is absurd. By all means remove the content. Perhaps even disallow uploads for a time, or even indefinitely. But a policy of disabling everything including unrelated services and purchased content smacks if ignorant product design and typical Microsoft hubris.

This is a great example of why their product services can't gain traction in the market.

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ihuman 643 days ago | link

I have some "questionable content" in my Dropbox, and nothing has happened to me.

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justauser 643 days ago | link

Sorry we have to check. Are you human?

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ori_b 642 days ago | link

Hopefully by only responding to warrants, instead of trying to play the part of the legal system.

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astangl 643 days ago | link

I can easily imagine them scanning for certain filetypes, then displaying large pages of thumbnails for somebody to review. Porn would be readily discernable, and some would surely enjoy having this job.

At least in the early days Microsoft was known for having a large stash of porn on their network, and it probably wasn't just for academic purposes.

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ChuckMcM 642 days ago | link

Well you should read the terms of service, and then adhere to them. Perhaps Microsoft would do well to provide in bold letters near the front that most people will find their terms intolerable and should probably not sign up for SkyDrive.

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Spooky23 643 days ago | link

This is like a hotel manager kicking you out because you and your partner are having sex. Why? Because prostitutes have sex too, and we don't want our hotel associated with that.

There are other, more troubling things here too. Materials related to the sale of firearms and ammunition are prohibited. Firearms in various forms are completely legal to own and trade to various degrees in the United States, why are documents relating to that trade of firearms banned?

I also see that anything that incites, advocates or expresses profanity is prohibited. I would advocate that all SkyDrive users place a copy of the terms of service in their account. This should incite most people to express their opinion of Microsoft's actions by saying "Fuck you, Microsoft", and thus violating the terms of service.

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ctdonath 643 days ago | link

Thanks for pointing out the arms/ammo ban. Didn't notice that very relevant point amid the proliferation of prohibitions. This sucks for us federally licensed collectors (FFL C&R); bizarre that storing a copy of my license on SkyDrive could cause MS to completely reject me as a customer/user. Seems a "final straw".

Instead of "place a copy...", I'd suggest rating SkyDrive "zero" and deleting it.

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delinka 643 days ago | link

I agree with your analogy. I don't understand your last two sentences. I don't get how advocating users placing copies of the ToS in their accounts incites people to express their opinions with a "fuck you, MS."

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Spooky23 643 days ago | link

I guess I fumbled the satirical point that I was trying to make.

Most folks don't read terms of service documents. But, putting this particular terms of service document on your SkyDrive and reading it would incite many people to express their opinion of the document using profanity. (It certainly had that effect on me ;) )

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Wintamute 643 days ago | link

The user you replied to is (humorously) suggesting that since the SkyDrive ToS are so objectionable they are quite likely to incite profanity (at least amongst the internet cognoscenti), thus itself becoming a forbidden item under its own ToS if placed in a SkyDrive. 'Twas a form of satire, ridicule intended to expose truth.

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willurd 643 days ago | link

I guess we know how Mircosoft feel about the 2nd and 5th amendments. I'm glad I haven't used SkyDrive yet, and now I never will.

EDIT: That being said:

  promotes or otherwise facilitates the purchase and sale of ammunition or firearms.
Maybe everybody should upload content that facilitates the TRADE of ammunition and firearms. That's not against the ToS.

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OriginalSyn 642 days ago | link

Not only the that but the manager barging into your room to make sure you're not quietly having sex.

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bobsy 643 days ago | link

I don't think Microsoft know what they doing. All cloud storage providers need a policy similar to what Microsoft have. They cannot have pirated content, child porn etc on their servers.

This rule should be strictly enforced on public folders. On private folders Microsoft shouldn't even be looking. While you should not be allowed to store "bad" content, it shouldn't be enforced on private folders unless there is some from of legal request.

I don't understand why they think it should work any different. Skydrive should be a way to back up files. You cannot back up your files if someone is snooping on them or if your account is banned for accidentally including that risky photo of your wife in the back up folder...

But fine. Whatever. Microsoft want to make their service unusable. Why are they then banning the entire live account? Suspending people from XBOX live and prohibiting them from using app purchases? If they are suspending the account the account holder needs to be refunded. Why don't they just prohibit the account from using SkyDrive?

Microsoft have been getting better recently. On this though they seem to have completely lost the plot.

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mike-cardwell 643 days ago | link

I disagree. All cloud storage providers should have similar policies and should enforce them ruthlessly. Maybe then, people will take client side encryption seriously.

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keithpeter 643 days ago | link

I'm sure those who really do wish to store and distribute material that really is illegal or unacceptable will use encrypted file storage.

Once again, it is the open and honest user who is close to an edge case who gets caught up.

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tluyben2 643 days ago | link

I disagree. Unless illegal by law, it's your private data. If you share it, it would be something different, but as long as it's private, it's just weird.

Others have them, but as long as you don't use the content PUBLICLY, they don't enforce, which is exactly correct.

Edit: sorry, reread. You are right about the encryption part. I still stand by the rest :)

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powertower 643 days ago | link

Thats the thing, for all we know the law states that they have to make an effort to remove child porn, pirated movies, etc.

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tluyben2 643 days ago | link

Well, yes, I see that issue. But also that is not as simple as MS now takes it:

- Childporn; pictures of very young children are stimulating to perverts and while there are definitely very 'wrong' pictures in this category, there are also just pictures you took of your young kids and have in your private folders ; that's not childporn UNLESS a pervert gets his hands on it. Meaning when it is private and yours, it should not be removed. It's memories of your children who naively play in the garden forgetting to put their pants on (I wish I could do that ffs) for instance. In the wrong hands dangerous, private and not shared; perfectly normal.

- Pirated movies; at least here you are allowed to backup movies you own, again if they are private, it cannot be that your account is removed for this; you HAVE the DVDs in your home and you ripped them in case of fire or when the break (and they often do after many years).

Both are crap arguments for removing accounts or even data UNLESS they are made public.

Hence it can be solved very easily ; just scan public dirs.

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mtgx 643 days ago | link

I wish all cloud storage providers would prompt an "encrypt with your own key" link before you upload each file, and then do the encryption for you. Of course, then you'll have to trust them with their own encryption method. But if they are using standard encryption methods, that shouldn't be an issue, right?

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naitbit 643 days ago | link

By "do the encryption for you" do you mean that they should encrypt on what you send them on their side? I'm afraid that gains you nothing. Not only they control encryption method, they also have unencrypted data and your key. Encryption must occur on client side to give you safety, and I would argue against using JavaScript to do it(after all website can be updated without your knowledge, and it is not practical to review site code each time you load it).

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jerf 643 days ago | link

In theory, they can do the encryption for you, on the client, and never send themselves the key. However, the effort required to audit a given client and verify that they are in fact doing that, doing it securely, and doing it in a way where they won't later change their minds and grab the key or whatever greatly exceeds the effort of simply handling the encryption yourself.

I understand why people call for this, but it's really a very narrow window of "security concern" where that's a valid feature.

Much better would be an open API, and an open source client, which does the encryption, preferably not even technically affiliated with the cloud provider.

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btilly 642 days ago | link

Actually this option exists in practice, not just in theory. See http://www.tarsnap.com/ for details.

The author of that code is the FreeBSD security officer. He is also the author of my favorite comeback ever on Hacker News: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35079

(Or navigate up to http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35068 and get some context. cperciva really is impressive.)

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mike-cardwell 642 days ago | link

Here would be my ideal scenario, but it requires changes at the OS level:

During installation, Dropbox asks the OS for an encrypted read/write view of "/home/user/Dropbox". The OS confirms this with the user. The user sets up the key/password for that encryption. Done.

If Dropbox is compelled in future to try and gain access to the unencrypted view of that same folder, it would have to ask the OS permission, and the OS would ask the user.

Dropbox could also ask for an unencrypted view on the initial installation, but the user should still be allowed to specify that the view it gets is of the encrypted versions of files only. This would be entirely transparent. Dropbox would have no idea if it's getting the full view or the encrypted view.

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markokocic 643 days ago | link

Does anyone know of any cloud storage with client side encryption that is convenient to use? I'm using Wuala, but would like to hear about alternatives.

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trekkin 643 days ago | link

SpiderOak (most similar to drive, dropbox), Tarsnap (nix-only, have to compile it yourself), aes.io (browser-based, like box.com)

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kpozin 643 days ago | link

I've been using JungleDisk for backups. I have it set up to encrypt locally with my key, and the backups are stored in my Amazon S3 account.

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ovi256 642 days ago | link

HN's own cperciva has created tarsnap.com

He's a crypto expert, so you should check out his service.

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danudey 642 days ago | link

Not quite a Dropbox replacement, but Arq for Mac OS X uses S3 for backup, and encrypts your data with a private key that only you know (unless he's surreptitiously sending it to himself).

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socrates1024 643 days ago | link

Tahoe-LAFS-on-s3 from Least Authority Enterprises https://leastauthority.com

Bonus: one user, 'sickness', showed how to replicate your encrypted data across Dropbox, gdrive, etc. http://www.sickness.it/crazycloudexperiment.txt

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tluyben2 643 days ago | link

I mentioned that at Corkboard and mailed the guy about it; http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4224524

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SoapSeller 643 days ago | link

On the contrary, I think that Microsoft know exactly what they doing. Their users don't.

I'm using some popular cloud storage services(Dropbox, Google Drive) for some of my stuff, but only of public and non-critical-business stuff I need to share.

Everything else backup-worthy goes to client-side-encrypted service(CrashPlan).

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statictype 643 days ago | link

Is Skydrive a backup solution? I thought it was more of a sync-everything-everywhere solution like Dropbox than a raw storage solution like S3.

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msh 643 days ago | link

Well, skydrive and dropbox I would call both sync and backup hybrid solutions. They do provide backup features with old versions being accessible.

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avens19 642 days ago | link

This is what we have to understand. Microsoft stores this digital information on servers that THEY OWN. That means that if any child pornography or defaming naked picture is found on their property, THEY are liable.

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zurn 642 days ago | link

Can you expand on your argument why they'd be liable for stuff in a users "private" skydrive folder?

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avens19 641 days ago | link

If a friend came to you and said keep this on your property but don't look in it and the police came and searched your property and found that it was a nuclear missile, I don't think you could say oh but my friend wasn't planning on sharing it with anybody.

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joering2 643 days ago | link

> All cloud storage providers need a policy similar to what Microsoft have.

No they don't. Its my data. Stay the heck out of my storage room that I pay you for every month, on time.

Its disappointing how far those companies go in playing cops and judges. They should provide service, not the letter of the law.

If cops have a good enough reason to believe you hosting child pornography, they could get a subpoena from a judge and then request Microsoft to open your vault. Otherwise we getting to the point where we don't need judges anymore -- we have bunch of creeps at Microsoft or other company deciding on what is "right" or "wrong". And this is wrong.

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omh 643 days ago | link

Welcome to the cloud.

If you work or play in space owned by someone else (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, whoever) then you have to realise that they can do almost anything they want. If this starts happening too regularly then consumers might start to rethink the benefits of cloud-based systems for running large parts of their lives.

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nestlequ1k 643 days ago | link

Painting way too broad a brush stroke. Just because an idiotic corporation has no idea how to administer their cloud products doesn't mean they are all bad. I've been using dropbox for years and I've never heard of anyone anywhere having their account shut down for having a nude photo.

In fact, I know there's tons of pirated content on dropbox because when I add a pirated movie, 9 times out of 10 it get's synced immediately. That means that file exists there already and they can identify it via MD5 hash. They could have banned it based on some sort of blacklist, but they didn't.

Probably because they understand that if they did, they would piss their paying customers off. So why spend effort trying to do that?

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delinka 643 days ago | link

"...doesn't mean they are all bad."

And that's how you get into trouble. You have to assume the good actors will at some point in the future execute a bad tactic (via incompetent or even malicious employees) and act accordingly. This doesn't mean you have to avoid cloud storage services altogether. The right thing to do is encrypt all your files before uploading.

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pi18n 643 days ago | link

This poster is correct. And, apparently, Drop Box already leaked a number of emails, so it would be nice to have an option to encrypt that also.

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omh 643 days ago | link

Absolutely. I don't mean to suggest that nobody should ever use cloud services. But you should be aware that things like this happen, and that there are policies which let them happen.

Dropbox might not be interested in blocking pirated content at the moment, but this could change in the future. Their polices already say that it isn't allowed, so what would you do if all of your pirated movies just disappeared one day?

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nestlequ1k 643 days ago | link

Simple: I'd stop paying for dropbox. And not only if they did this to me, but if I found out from a reliable source that they were doing this to anyone.

I figure that's a good enough incentive for them to not try to monitor their files.

But yeah, I pretty much agree with your basic point to not solely rely on cloud services. Always have a physical backup of stuff you actually want/need.

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mtgx 643 days ago | link

Wasn't Dropbox involved in a pretty big privacy scandal a year or two ago when people found out they weren't encrypting their files properly or something?

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kmfrk 643 days ago | link

I believe Dropbox create a hash for all users' files that point to a single file hosted on Dropbox, so Dropbox save the space that would have been occupied by the - according to them - redundant files. You could say that a Dropbox repo is like a list of references to non-redundant files hosted by Dropbox.

In finding any disagreeable content, I believe the implication was that Dropbox could map it the other way around from the infracting file to a list of users with the file's hash.

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Dylan16807 642 days ago | link

People that never looked at what dropbox does were shocked that dropbox has the technical ability to look at file contents. All encryption is done on the dropbox servers.

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pjmlp 643 days ago | link

Agreed 100%.

I'm not giving my private data to someone else to store.

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philjohn 643 days ago | link

The most disturbing thing here is that Microsoft are routinely looking at peoples private data to monitor it. Whether this takes the form of an automated program to flag things up, there's still going to be a human arbitrating the final decision.

That's just creepy.

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bborud 643 days ago | link

Give it a few years and people will get used to it and come to accept it.

Just look at air travel. It took just a decade to get people to accept having their genitals touched by people in uniform before getting on airplanes.

There will be some very, very minor outrage initially, and then that will subside and people will obediently adapt. Some will even claim that it is your patriotic duty to accept it.

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dinkumthinkum 642 days ago | link

I don't think that's a good analogy though. People feel peer pressure to accept the humiliation of the TSA because it is for our "safety." When it comes to long term storage of our privates, I think there will be a different attitude.

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bborud 642 days ago | link

No, people pretty much have exactly the same sort of attitude: "I have nothing to hide so this doesn't concern me". Just wait and see.

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robgough 643 days ago | link

The problem here for me is not so much that MS found an image they didn't like and then over-reacted (which I rather think they did). It's that they have obviously written tooling specifically with the purpose of finding these things, and then shutting down accounts.

That they think it's OK to routinely look at these files, where I think most consumers would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, highlights to me an extremely scary though process.

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mtgx 643 days ago | link

Indeed. Remember when the tech blogs made a big deal about Google Drive's privacy policy because of the wording, and saying how Skydrive has a bit better wording? Well it seems in the end it was Microsoft that was using actual people to look at private files, while Google just wanted to scan them automatically using algorithms for different stuff.

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s_henry_paulson 643 days ago | link

Hmm, curious. The first guy that contacted Microsoft was told what the problem was, and given an opportunity to fix the problem.

This next guy doesn't seem to have been given an opportunity to fix the problem.

Perhaps just an untrained employee, or lack of a proper procedure in place by Microsoft.

Regardless, the fallout from this is likely to be quite large, as the entire reason for putting your data in the "cloud" is that you trust that you'll be able to access it.

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drostie 643 days ago | link

I don't know; it seems like it might be a fringe enough usage case that it doesn't trigger peoples' outrage. Granted, people don't necessarily think of SkyDrive as a social platform, but with the frequency that embarrassing photos are uploaded to Facebook, you can imagine that there is either an ignorance or a nonchalance toward privacy among the same young people who'd use SkyDrive.

Yes, it's seriously messed up that Microsoft employees are presumably snooping around in your private SkyDrive folders, and it has the potential to really get people to migrate away. But it requires overcoming a huge barrier of apathy, and I'm not sure this has the momentum to do so.

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robert_nsu 643 days ago | link

It has to be. A friend's account was compromised, but I reset his password for him and MS gave him the opportunity to remove any offending material and everything was ok.

This is slightly annoying though.

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DanBC 643 days ago | link

> [...] the entire reason for putting your data in the "cloud" is that you trust that you'll be able to access it.

I agree that many people think this. But I cannot understand why they think it. I hear people talk about "cloud backups", when the only copy they have of a file is the one in the cloud.

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sp332 643 days ago | link

Access doesn't mean backup. If I have a document in Google Docs only, I can access that from anywhere with an internet connection. If I'm talking about a cloud backup, I mean e.g. Dropbox where I have more than one copy.

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DanBC 642 days ago | link

But even then, I can't understand why people think that SERVICE X is always on.

Obviously there's a few people who know the up times and down times and make an informed choice.

But many people just assume that it will always work, and who will suffer when that service is not available.

Maybe my early experience of batch processing and unreliable utility supplies and a few experiences of dropped services has taught me, and that other people are living in a world with remarkably good up times and thus don't get the chance to learn that three nines is not six nines.

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seanmcdirmid 642 days ago | link

Everywhere except china behind the GFW. It's always funny (in a sad way)when people come here and find they need to scramble for a VPN to look at plans on google docs. Dropbox ditto.

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etfb 643 days ago | link

This made me go check the terms and conditions for DropBox, and they're much better. The closest they come is saying you may not "publish or share materials that are unlawfully pornographic or indecent, or that advocate bigotry, religious, racial or ethnic hatred". That's a whole lot different to Microsoft's banning of any kind of porn, lawful or otherwise, even when it's not published or shared.

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mmagin 642 days ago | link

The latter clause is awfully broad and subjective. If someone put in their Dropbox account pictures of say, artifacts of the Nazi regime, would that be violating the rules? It's not at all clear that that would be advocating bigotry, religious, racial or ethnic hatred on the part of the user themselves, but it clearly was related to historical political movements which did so.

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etfb 641 days ago | link

The key is the verb "publish". Putting it in your Dropbox account != publishing it.

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