SOPA, PIPA, and the Cloud: We Have Mega Issues

SOPA, PIPA, and the Cloud

SOPA and PIPA, two of the most infamous and polemical pieces of governmental legislation aimed squarely at the Internet’s copyright violators in modern history, have produced ripples of interest that should not go unnoticed by the cloud computing community.

After days of heated protest both online and away from the Web, both the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act have been postponed by Congress. The former bill sought to enlarge the authority of American law enforcement to combat web-based trafficking of counterfeit products and intellectual property, while PIPA would have armed the government with additional power to restrict the activities of websites involved with such activity.

Although a maelstrom of dismay on Twitter and virtual discussion forums successfully curbed the power of SOPA/PIPA, some websites did not survive the crossfire. Before closing up shop, Congress nabbed and eliminated Megaupload, a well-known fire sharing site, brandying it as their scapegoat of copyright violation. The indictment against Megaupload noted how many users employed the site as their own personal cloud, storing video files, pictures, and work documents on the site. Many Megaupload fans mourned how conveniently it functioned as a backup service.

Internet users en masse have begun to question the cloud’s benefit as safe and secure storage of their information as a result of the SOPA/PIPA debacle. And rightfully so: this incident has ignited an open discussion for the relevance of the cloud in the current status of the Internet in society.

The whiffs of a cloud backlash in the wake of SOPA/PIPA are not unfounded. But cloud computing skeptics should thoroughly evaluate the entirety of the dilemma before completely writing off the cloud’s positive capacities.

To be sure, actual copyright violators and pirates of intellectual property did flourish on the liberal, expansive nature of Megaupload and its subsidiary sites (such as the extremely popular Megavideo). Yet virtual wrongdoers were not the site’s sole constituents. Many Megaupload users merely regarded the site as a useful repository for their online data. Others backed up their files there, employing Megaupload for its auxiliary function.

Understandably, many would-be cloud users might be warded off by fear of a federal shakedown. Businesses should also be concerned, since their employees might choose to store important information in cloud sites that might be dismantled and rid of their data.

The SOPA/PIPA affair has not concluded by any means. Both Craigslist and Wikipedia warn their users that the bills will continue to lurk in Congress’ shadows, perhaps to eventually resurface in a revamped and less easily overpowered form. But for the interim, the sum of these events should be considered as a cautionary tale.

Both professional companies and private users should thoroughly vet their providers of online data storage, backup, and information hosting well in advance of uploading critical information there. Only vigilance against sites with a history of hosting pirated information can preempt users from being pipped by SOPA/PIPA in the future.

By Jeff Norman

About Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comics
2017 Brings DLP Technology and IoT’s Weaknesses to Light

2017 Brings DLP Technology and IoT’s Weaknesses to Light

DLP Technology In regards to data loss prevention (DLP), in the last five years many companies rushed to implement DLP solutions without taking the time to first identify the data that should not transit egress points. Most of these rushed implementations have not been successful. Security analysts, in particular 451 Research, have been recommending that…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…

The Five Rules of Security and Compliance in the Public Cloud Era

The Five Rules of Security and Compliance in the Public Cloud Era

Security and Compliance  With technology at the heart of businesses today, IT systems and data are being targeted by criminals, competitors and even foreign governments. Every day, we hear about how another retailer, bank or Internet company has been hacked and private information of customers or employees stolen. Governments and oversight organizations are responding to…

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions Running a cloud server is no longer the novel trend it once was. Now, the cloud is a necessary data tier that allows employees to access vital company data and maintain productivity from anywhere in the world. But it isn’t a perfect system — security and performance issues can quickly…

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

Embracing The Cloud We love the stories of big complacent industry leaders having their positions sledge hammered by nimble cloud-based competitors. Saleforce.com chews up Oracle’s CRM business. Airbnb has a bigger market cap than Marriott. Amazon crushes Walmart (and pretty much every other retailer). We say: “How could they have not seen this coming?” But, more…

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And Virtual Reality This is a term I created (Virtual Immersion). Ah…the sweet smell of Virtual Immersion Success! Virtual Immersion© (VI) an extension/expansion of Virtual Reality to include the senses beyond visual and auditory. Years ago there was a television commercial for a bathing product called Calgon. The tagline of the commercial was Calgon…

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

Data Insecurity In The Cloud Today’s escalating attacks, vulnerabilities, breaches, and losses have cut deeply across organizations and captured the attention of, regulators, investors and most importantly customers. In many cases such incidents have completely eroded customer trust in a company, its services and its employees. The challenge of ensuring data security is far more…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…