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The Courts United States IT

The Fourth Amendment and the Cloud 174

Posted by kdawson
from the reasonable-expectation dept.
CNET has up a blog post examining the question: does the Fourth Amendment apply to data stored in the Cloud? The US constitutional amendment forbidding unreasonable searches and seizures is well settled in regard to the physical world, but its application to electronic communications and computing lags behind. The post's argument outlines a law review article (PDF) from a University of Minnesota law student, David A. Couillard. "Hypothetically, if a briefcase is locked with a combination lock, the government could attempt to guess the combination until the briefcase unlocked; but because the briefcase is opaque, there is still a reasonable expectation of privacy in the unlocked container. In the context of virtual containers in the cloud...encryption is not simply a virtual lock and key; it is virtual opacity. ... [T]he service provider has a copy of the keys to a user's cloud 'storage unit,' much like a landlord or storage locker owner has keys to a tenant's space, a bank has the keys to a safe deposit box, and a postal carrier has the keys to a mailbox. Yet that does not give law enforcement the authority to use those third parties as a means to enter a private space. The same rationale should apply to the cloud." We might wish that the courts interpreted Fourth Amendment rights in this way, but so far they have not.
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The Fourth Amendment and the Cloud

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @08:17AM (#30818328)

    Wait a minute. I'm a manager, and I've been reading a lot of case studies and watching a lot of webcasts about The Cloud. Based on all of this glorious marketing literature, I, as a manager, have absolutely no reason to doubt the safety of any data put in The Cloud.

    The case studies all use words like "secure", "MD5", "RSS feeds" and "encryption" to describe the security of The Cloud. I don't know about you, but that sounds damn secure to me! Some Clouds even use SSL and HTTP. That's rock solid in my book.

    And don't forget that you have to use Web Services to access The Cloud. Nothing is more secure than SOA and Web Services, with the exception of perhaps SaaS. But I think that Cloud Services 2.0 will combine the tiers into an MVC-compliant stack that uses SaaS to increase the security and partitioning of the data.

    My main concern isn't with the security of The Cloud, but rather with getting my Indian team to learn all about it so we can deploy some first-generation The Cloud applications and Web Services to provide the ultimate platform upon which we can layer our business intelligence and reporting, because there are still a few verticals that we need to leverage before we can move to The Cloud 2.0.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @08:47AM (#30818512)
    You'll want to upscale the downstream synergies of a Cloud Services 2.0 deployment to be an enabler of Top-Tier Blue-Sky processes to your Crowd-sourced resources. Otherwise you'll not be utilising the future-thinking operational motivators of time-shift market deployments, and that can seriously anti-creationalise your interstabularistic practicalularisation performocarbunkle cheesewozzles.
  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @08:50AM (#30818526)
    They can scoop some out of the bowl when I'm done having my Morning Glory, if they're that bothered about how much I had to drink last night.

    They can also just ask me. The answer is "If you haven't brought me some black coffee and dry toast in 5 minutes, I'm barfing on your shoes."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:14PM (#30821104)

    Eric Schmidt says I have nothing to worry about as long as I am a good person with nothing to hide, so what's the problem here?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:19PM (#30824636)

    Ha, I've been modded Troll after commenting on the pertinence of my own post!

    Which is a real shame. I gave you a point to help remedy it, but it was just an underrated because I'd like to see you hit +5 troll.

    >.>;

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