Sure its Pornography… but How Do You Know?

This post is about what might be considered pornography. Woah… I’ve got your attention? Good, because this is not a sales-trick to keep you reading.

But! For the people who might have the wrong idea right now, I do have to disappoint you. I am crap in writing adult material. I am sorry, but that might be a reason why I write about something so un-amorous like IT.

Anyway. Quick introduction; as I have mentioned in previous blog postings, I also own a small photo studio. And yes, we also do model photography, and even sometimes part of that model photography shows nudity. (We have a separate blog for the studio at http://blog.cantanopy.com – it is safe, no nudity there, but it shows more of our work) Some may call that already pornography over here in the US, but being from western Europe I do really have to say it does not come close.

But, for the sake of it. If it shows more skin than a walk on the beach in summer, sure, we’ll call it pornography. I know that Microsoft does.

WOAH!

Microsoft is getting hard about pornography? Well, pun intended, but, yes. As I discovered earlier this evening. The photography that we do is for the models and artistically and sensual. It is also pure business for us. And the photos created, just like with any business document or production, will have backups. And I use a lot of back-ups; flash drives, external hard drives, servers, DVD’s/Blu-Rays, Carbonite and for a drive-by backup I like to use SkyDrive.

And I really like SkyDrive. I like Microsoft as a company. Sure, their products might not be as slick as Apple’s, but I personally think MS does a good job in creating overall excellent products in what they have to do. I love Office, there is no office tool that comes near, I always have been a content Windows user, and I appreciate their support and maintenance efforts – a thing that have shown not to be so easy at all the last weeks when we take a look at Apple.

And since Microsoft recently released their integrated SkyDrive apps, so that it becomes immediately available in your OS on your mobile device and desktop OS. Since release 2.0, I went from liking SkyDrive to loving it.

And like said, I use it as a drive-by backup. The one you use for not crucial or private documents, but something you need to have quick access too and store it temporarily. As I also do with the photos. Also the nude photos.

They are ‘locked’ and only one other person I work with has access to it. Nicely arranged in the security sharing settings within SkyDrive.

And, then, suddenly… my SkyDrive app on my tablet stopped functioning about four hours ago. No message, just that it needed a Wi-Fi connection to the web to work. Grrrrrrrr… re-installed the software but it did not help.

I searched online for a similar problem, but could not find it. So, in the end, I decided to check if it was working within the browser. And it was then that I saw, when I was signed in, that my account had been blocked because I was not using it according to the rules of conduct.

And, clicking on it… yep… they were right. Look, I am the same idiot as anyone else who does not read everything. And you know what, in the first line it says that you are not allowed to upload any nudity or pornography to the service.

Stupid rule… but… okay. If those are the rules then…….

HEEEEEEEEEY! Wait a minute!

How does Microsoft know that I have pictures containing nudity in my folders?

Don’t answer that. I am technically savvy, I do know how. And Microsoft according to these rules has the right to reprimand my usage of SkyDrive. But, how did they know what kind of photos I have in my folder I had locked for anyone else but one person.

15 years ago, when I worked with the largest Internet Provider in the Netherlands, we received the request for access to a mailbox of a customer by the Belgian police force. We were not allowed to provide that access until a court order was issued, because of the right of privacy. That court order was issued soon afterwards and we released the mailbox in the criminal investigation.

Somehow, I don’t think Microsoft had a court order. And most likely it is completely covered in the terms and conditions that Microsoft can audit any file at any time in their service. But why are they?

Because to me, immediately, it is clear that there is full access to my SkyDrive through a huge backdoor that leads right into Redmond. And that most likely means that there are a lot of people who are actively scanning files. Files that are yours and mine. And if you prohibit it from being seen from others, there are clearly many who are allowed to watch them.

With me, they were pictures of our nude models. With you, it might be your private pictures, documents with private information that you thought was nice and safe over there. And of course there are now enough people mentioning that you should not store your private files in such service. But why not? Every big IT firm is moving everything to the cloud because it would be the next big thing.

But clearly, this ‘thing’ is heavily censored. Even on legal things.

My photos show nudity. Sure. And I’ll bet the people who were scanning the files did watch them longer than the other photos they had to scan that night. And I don’t care that much about that, or the closing of the account.

But I do care about the feeling that SkyDrive uses a complete ineffective sense of security. I call it ‘sense’ of security, because it clearly is so that my files are in no way even the slightest bit secured from prying eyes.

And then I start to worry. I also use Office365. And my companies run SharePoint, a tool I love. And a lot of the collaboration materials are stored in there, shielded from one department to the other. Is Microsoft scanning that too?

I do not think so, they would not hurt the image of SharePoint… but, in my basic opinion… why not? What is different between that storage and SkyDrive. In my opinion, it is both a Microsoft Cloud product.

And I mention Microsoft here, but I am pretty much sure Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud is not much better. Pfffff… Apple hates it if there is any kind of nudity on their devices, so I don’t even act surprised if they were far more active removing anything ‘nude’ from their iCloud.

But in other words… in my opinion, the cloud showed its true colors to me tonight, and I know now that it is by far not as ready as people think it is. It is too bad, if Microsoft has just sent me an email or message that they suspected me of breaking the rules of conduct of the program, and that they were going to audit my account – fine. But they did not. And that showed to me that they already have looked at my locked files.

I hope they enjoyed them more than I have enjoyed SkyDrive.

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