Private Data in the Cloud
As human beings, we all appreciate a certain level of privacy. That’s why we have shower curtains and window blinds. It’s also why we tend towards journals for our thoughts and quiet conversation in public places. We are social beings but propriety and our personal comfort level limits how much we are willing to share with the world at large.
Maintaining a secure sense of privacy has become much more difficult in the last few decades, and the word itself has become a buzzword of sorts as our interactions with the Internet and the cloud has often tested just how much we value the concept. From Facebook to Google (and many others in between) we have found that many of the connected activities that have become daily habit or necessity have also intruded into areas of our lives once thought our own.
For many of us who hear rumors of data breaches and data tracking, the whole idea that information about us is somehow “out there” can be frightening. So, since “privacy” is kind of a big deal here at PSMail, we thought we’d bring a little clarity on the issue and offer some direction if you care to rein in all the information about you that has slipped out over the years.
Option One: There’s always the option to unplug your computer, sell your house, buy some backpacking gear and a good ax, and rough it in the wilderness. This would certainly be private and even Facebook would have a hard time tracking you out there (though they would try).
Unfortunately, this is just not a realistic option for most of us, and, if you choose to stay connected to the larger world, the fact is that information about you will be logged and stored by all manner of businesses and organizations. It has simply become a fact of life. This is, as we will see, not necessarily a bad thing. But it is a thing and we need to reckon with it.
Option Two: Know what data has been collected about yourself and limit it accordingly.
Many of the most well-known services have now made it relatively easy to take a look and see just what information they have gathered about you. It’s extensive. Below are some links to some helpful articles that detail what these organizations know, how to get this information from these services, and how to limit how much they look over your shoulder.
Part of the “limiting” concerns just how careful you want to be. Yes, Google tracks certain of your behaviors in order to target advertisements based on your interests. This is a little creepy – maybe even intrusive – but for many people, not that big of a deal. Some may not want to curtail Google’s abilities in this area. On the other hand, perhaps Facebook’s location tracker raises more concerns for you…or not. A large part of protecting your privacy is being aware what information is known about you and making educated decisions concerning it.
So take a look. My guess is that there may be some surprises and there will undoubtedly be some limits you will want to put on these companies and the information they gather about you. Maybe there will be some things you decide aren’t that important. Either way, your decision will be informed and that’s a step in the right direction.
NOTE: So what about PSMail? What personal data do we track? PSMail tracks things like your login and usage patterns to help us troubleshoot connectivity issues. PSMail does not use your information for marketing or sales, internally or externally, with any business partners; we use the information only to detect and fix problems. If you choose our PSMailbox email service or Cabinet cloud storage, your emails and documents are stored in our server, but are encrypted and only you have access to them. You can at anytime choose to download all your emails and/or documents and delete these off our server. Except for lawful investigation under US law your information is never shared.
What about other private information such as your legal address, date of birth, social security or passport number, credit card or bank account numbers, etc? These are never collected or kept by PSMail. Your financial transactions are typically performed by our partner organizations that are also committed to privacy and security.
Fear not: at PSMail, we continue to consider the privacy and security of your data of utmost priority and will continue to protect and guard it.