(Editor's note: In this guest post, Brian Taptich, CEO of cloud storage company Bitcasa, lays out the case for minding your digital belongings.)
USA TODAY - Your digital belongings are yours. Who do you want to be in control of them?
It's hard to trust that the companies promising to store our digital assets won't access them and use them for their own benefit. After all, Facebook has grown to a net worth of $100 billion, and Google, $300 billion, from manipulating their productcustomers' personal informationto deliver lucrative advertising platforms, according to Mother Jones.
Considering that by 2016 the average household will increase its digital content from 464 gigabytes to 3.3 terabytes, Facebook, Google and their countless data-housing counterparts have quite a lot of content to turn a profit on in the years to come -- if consumers let them.
While we want all the benefits of convenient storage, anytime access, mobility and social connection that come with digitization, it's hard to offer all of those advantages while still getting privacy and security right.
Companies looking to profit off of customer data can't offer the necessary security features like client-side encryption; if they did, they couldn't see what their customers were doing. But such encryption helps consumersthey share content as they wish without worry about how the solution they've trusted is going to use it for its own financial gain.
To compound the issue, as the number of digital belongings and the number of devices per person increases, so does the fragmentation of those belongings: music in one place, public photos in another, private photos somewhere else, and document files in an entirely different spot.
The responsibility falls on the owners of the content to make sure each and every storage solution honors their privacy, keeps their data safe from hackers and maintains its accessibility.
Storing our digital belongings shouldn't be that nerve-wracking. It should be about what's right for consumers. It should be about giving the owners of the content the most use-ability of their digital possessions with the least worry about their proper care.
The right consumer solutions will have affordability, privacy and accessibility at their core in a way that gives customers confidence in the people with whom they're trusting their most important, most personal assets.
About the author: Prior to joining, Bitcasa CEO Brian Taptich held senior executive positions at Zynga, BitTorrent and Electronic Arts. He also worked as a strategic advisor to digital media startups in a previous role with Davis Shapiro Media Advisors.
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