I love cloud services. They have extended my human capabilities by a factor. I can go back in time on my Twitter time line and not only see what I did, but I can actually see myself and my ideas evolve through time.
Enjoying my photo history
It’s even bigger with photos. I can browse trough my photos and see myself grow up, meet my wife, and then see my own kids grow up. With mobile phones taking better photos every day I do get overwhelmed by the amount and now Google has bettered their already great solution to back-up and find all these precious moments with Google Photos.
With Google having all my photos, all my contacts (Gmail) and all my web browsing history they know more about me than I know about myself. I trust them not to do anything bad with it. The problem is that Google is an American company and I don’t trust the American government and the NSA. I don’t trust my own government either.
I do have lots to hide
I hate the "I don’t have stuff to hide" argument, because I -as everybody else- have a lot to hide. I’m currently not a person of interest to either governments, which might be a valid argument, but this might change. If it does, they really know all about me, and my connections.
I could choose not to use the Google services, but the rest of the world -one billion Android devices- still does. Google just makes it so easy, and good, and cheap that there’s hardly any room for competition.
This is just getting started
This will get even worse with all ‘things’ going online. Within a few years you too will walk the earth with either glasses or lenses that scan you environment and add information to that environment. That might be VR like, it might be a scan of my face, with the prices of the clothing I’m wearing and an age, name, and weight tag above my head.
So privacy is lost.
Privacy en security by design
If you do become a person of interest hiding in plain sight might even be the best option. The other -only- option is that software makers start building their products and services with privacy and security on by default. Privacy and security as a foundation for every product. If Google made a smart encryption layer over my photos we might be able to make sure only I can access my own data and that I am actually part of the encryption. Even if governments would request my data Google they simply would not be able to offer it to them. There are some obstacles here. How do I do machine learning with encrypted data but those Google people are pretty smart.
The risk assessment
So it’s a risk assessment of me, privacy, cloud services, government, commercial organizations, short and long term thinking an the change of me starting an online war. In the meantime the new Google Photos is pretty amazing.