Woz worries about cloud computing

Steve Wozniak

Cloud computing is obviously here to stay, but that doesn’t mean all of us like the idea of putting our personal data onto what is essentially a shared resource beyond our control. No less a tech icon than Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak expressed his reservations on this topic this weekend.

“I really worry about everything going to the cloud,” Wozniak told attendees of a performance of  Mike Daisey’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” Saturday in Washington D.C., according to a report in Phys.org. “I think it’s going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years.”

Wozniak, who is now chief scientist of Fusion.io,  went on to say:

With the cloud, you don’t own anything. You already signed it away through the legalistic terms of service with a cloud provider that computer users must agree to. I want to feel that I own things …  A lot of people feel, ‘Oh, everything is really on my computer,’ but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we’re going to have control over it.

Former Gizmodo staff writer Mat Honan would probably agree. Honan’s iCloud account was accessed by hackers using the distinctly non-techie but highly effective technique of social engineering. The unknown culprit duped an Apple support staffer into thinking he was Honan and the rest is history — Honan lost access to his iPhone, his Macbook, all his devices, as outlined in Honan’s blog post about his own personal nightmare.

In Honan’s own words: “In short, someone gained entry to my iCloud account, used it to remote wipe all of my devices, and get entry into other accounts too.”

That is the nightmare scenario — losing access to your personal stuff and worse, knowing that someone else has that access — that keeps cloud skeptics, including Woz, up at night.

Photo courtesy of  Flickr user gloomcheng

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