TECH &/ CULTURE
why you should be worried about the cloud
The cloud has been transformed. Our data centre is no longer located in vast warehouses dotted across the planet: your address in Ireland, your face in Norway, your viewing history in the United States. The cloud’s metaphor has been made physical and it has moved into the sky.
While the cloud cultivates an illusion of freedom, in its flimsy, floating intangibility, our data is anything but free. It is still owned, managed and governed. But, we have lost any sense of the laws that will govern our data, or of the people who will make them. We don’t know who owns this cloud.
We should be concerned by this move, and by what motivated it. Perhaps the laws on Earth were too confining for the cloud’s creators? Who could resist our tax free, law free, accountability free skies? In our digital age, we must recognise that our data is a part of us. It can be used to manipulate us, to influence us, and to harm us. We are not safe if our data is not safe, and with this new cloud in the sky, we are at risk.
Technologies grow far faster than humans do. We are still decades away from proper legislation to govern digital influence and power in our social media age. Yet with each new app and platform, the whole landscape changes once again. We need to keep trying, to see these new developments for what they are: a media source, a tool of mass manipulation, a weapon, a threat, a state.
Instead of letting the cloud leave the confines of state structure, we should take state structure to it. The cloud is its own entity, with its own geography and power system. We need to start treating it as such: to enter into trade negotiations, meet the data dignitaries, to have an ambassador to the cloud. We must meet this new technology, move our awe and wonder, and recognise it for what it is.