As an IT professional specializing in anti-fraud of all types I am becoming increasingly worried about the ability of unauthorized access and manipulation of personal data inside the 'cloud'. We are constantly asked to upload our personal data into cloud data vaults for easy World Wide access and also cloud computing. All these services are usually offered for free or as part of a paid bundled package. Free e-mail services and social sites also takes away privacy and creates a potential for data mining and profiling by third parties. A more sinister twist is the ability for original content to be manipulated for a myriad of reasons. Any agency with a search and destroy mission could possibly go into the cloud and change original content in an effort to discredit or worse.
I have been a faithful MSN (Microsoft) user all of my adult life. I have seen Microsoft take away the ability by Hotmail to have automatic and bulk download of all my (personal) free e-mails into my mail local database such as outlook or outlook express. This is EXTREMELY worrisome as it takes away my freedom to have bulk access to my private works even for my own protection (evidence) and back-up. Those worried about this Hotmail denial can change their Hotmail setting to forward their mail into a Yahoo mail account and from that Yahoo account automatic download into outlook can still be performed.
The News Vine is also a MSNBC service I have been utilizing since 2008 as a means to leave my thought legacy for my children to read in their own time. I have recently queried News Vine to see if I could have access to my body of work for back-up. The response I received was,
'We don’t have a utility that lets you download everything you’ve contributed. You do have these pages for your content and comments, respectively:
You might copy and save your work by going through those pages. If you want the context, you might use your browser to save the pages your comments/seeds are on.'
Imagine how much time I would have to spend accessing one page at a time in order to do sequential saves. My response to the News Vine was,
'Through the years I have contributed a huge body of work making manual and serial screen shots simply too much work to handle prompting my request for help from you. Maybe News Vine does not provide a utility but being most likely an Oracle Database a simple ad-hoc query and saving in a .txt flat file would resolve my problem. Is there any way either you, or a different IT department, would be able and willing to help. Maybe you can point me in the right direction. I appreciate your help.'
I am still waiting for a reply.
Once an ad-hoc query works the way intended by the programmer it can be turned into a script and placed as a utility on any News Vine member's protected account page.
I am writing this article in an effort to inform all News Viners regarding the issue of security, back-up, and being able to have bulk access and download of data pertaining to the original data owners. I am asking that we all voice and vote for News Vine to provide an utility for its users to be able to download all personal bodies of work in bulk into their private vaults.
In the anti-fraud business there is great concern for data being stolen and or landing in the wrong hands. The only real protection a private individual has is to back-up anything and everything they post on the Internet into a private, off-line, and local data vault.