The need for a better cloud

Currently, there is a serious issue with the Internet, which is the fact that it’s owned by corporations, who have their own best interests at heart, and not by people.  This was mentioned by Richard Stallman, who keeps calling the cloud a trap</a>, but was recently illustrated by Amazon being cowards and kicking off WikiLeaks because of a political opinion.  Some people may claim that it may have been because of how Senator Joseph Lieberman pressured them, like he did Paypal, but unlike Paypal, who were forced to admit that they caved under political pressure</a>, Amazon still sticks to their press release about the WikiLeaks issue</a>.

Amazon has censored other things in the past, for example, they unpublished the book 1984 and pulled it off all the kindles that purchased it</a> due to the fact that the publisher didn’t want it out there anymore.  Amazon is clearly in the censorship business.  The thing is that there are other services that are also known for violating people’s property, and in some cases helping dictatorships</a>.

So, it’s pretty clear, we need our own cloud.  One that works like how WikiLeaks works, where it’s  anonymous, secure and is stateless.  This is possible, thanks to work in projects like Tor, and Tahoe-LAFS.  The EFF mentions these in their blog post</a> about constructive direct action, however all of these things are difficult for the average user to do.  In fact, this is one of the biggest problems.

Public Key Cryptography has been with us for decades, but most e-mail is still in the clear.  This may not matter so much on GMail, since only you,  the other recipient on Gmail, and the GoogleBot that is reading your e-mail, looking for search terms and presenting you with advertising is reading it, but if you’re actually interacting with someone who has a hotmail account or a yahoo account</a>, let alone an ISP account, the e-mail will be in the clear, which means that it can be intercepted.  The problem is that most people use webmail clients for their e-mail.  If you’re not using Google, chances are that your webmail experience sucks ass, and is extremely hard to use.  As much as I love Mozilla Thunderbird, it’s just not as easy as Webmail, and therein lies the problem.

The fact is that these tools need to be easier.  (So far, all I’ve really seen is CryptBin, and it crashed when I tried using it.)</em> Now, some things MUST be run on the system, such as Tor.  However, assuming that one can get the Tor Browser Bundle working, there must be a way to have people access their files, and their mail without it being super complex.  We need better tools for people so that people can be safer and feel more confident with their privacy and their transparency.