Is Cloud Computing The Perfect Medium For Big Brother?
Information has always been the most powerful weapon anyone could wield. It allowed Alexander the Great to conquer nations and allowed the U.S. to drive home crippling blows to the enemy during the Second World War on two fronts –in Europe against Germany and in the Pacific against Japan. I am talking about the two preemptive strikes that sank the two most powerful and biggest battleships during that period, Germany’s Bismarck and later Japan’s Yamato. Move forward some five to six decades and the threat has changed; now we not only have to deal with physical threats but cyber ones as well.
The times have changed and threats to national security are no longer as black and white or as defined as nations and groups. Information and data are worth millions and are the new unspoken currency. Now anyone can be a threat and with the emphasis on the World Wide Web and Big Data, anyone can be a possible threat. Cloud Computing is the newest battlefield and the targets could be anyone, the attacker anybody. This new battlefield has given birth to Big Brother and all the good and bad associated with him.
Cloud Computing is the perfect environment for a Big Brother sort of system to thrive because of its public nature. The government can demand the information from these publicly registered companies when circumstances are right and at the extremes. It also makes it easier for a system like that to tap into these public Cloud systems even without the permission or knowledge of the service provider, assuming the technology is there, and we all know it is. Because unlike in a data center environment where no one has a physical connection to the system except the owner, everyone may be able to connect to a public system; sure there are locked doors preventing access, but there are always ways to open doors. The very nature of Cloud Computing makes it one big soup of information trading and espionage that is why a lot of people are still apprehensive of it. But like how the Cold War has sparked fictional stories like that of 007 and Mission Impossible, maybe this time around we would get proper cyber spies.
By Abdul Salam
He has recently co-authored: Deploying and Managing a Cloud Infrastructure: Real-World Skills for the CompTIA Cloud+ Certification (Wiley).