Cloud computing is coming — and in a big way — but there's a worry that it'll do more harm than good. Just think of how easy it'll make piracy, for instance, when all of our data is already floating around on the Internet. According to a U.S. tech official, that's the wrong way to think about it.
There are many ways right now for you and me to dive into the cloud: Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft — to name a few — are all dipping digital toes in the water. Right now that mostly means online music lockers for you to store and stream your tunes, but Apple is even adding photos, video and more into the mix. Despite all this tempting digital data, companies shouldn't be afraid to embrace the cloud according to Victoria Espinel, coordinator of intellectual property enforcement for the U.S. government.
"In order for the Internet to be as productive and compelling as possible, we need to have active engagement from companies that interact with and benefit from Internet commerce," Espinel said, speaking at the World Copyright Summit in Brussels, Belgium.
She continues: "If it is possible to construct it so that it cannot be compromised, it may have the effect of reducing piracy by giving value to consumers — the ability to own forever and access almost anywhere — that cannot be obtained with illegal copies."
There's one red flag: everything on the Internet can be compromised. It's a digital arms race. Security may keep out your hacker wannabes, but piracy as an industry will find a way. Another flag: the idea of owning a piece of digital information forever when it's on a server. What if the server fails? What if the company fails and shuts its service down? With a downloaded copy of something, illegal or not, you have it on your hard drive. You can put it on a flash drive or CD, even.
Where Espinel finds her mark is this idea of giving value as a means to reduce illegal activity. Netflix, for instance, makes consuming streaming movies and shows dead easy for dirt cheap. I don't need to go torrent Sword of the Valiant (don't judge). I can just fire it up on Netflix on my laptop or Xbox or iPhone.
That said, Netflix has a weak Android showing. If I did want to watch Sword of the Valiant on my Droid Charge, I'd need to turn down one of the alleys of the Internet.
Security is definitely a necessity, but it's value that will keep us coming back to the services we love.