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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

An Argument Against Cloud-based Applications

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Michael Huth is Professor of Computer Science at Imperial College London.

According to Symantec, 89% of our Android apps and 39% of our iOS apps require access to private information. This risky use sends our data to cloud servers, to both amplify the performance of the application and store data for advertising demographics.

When we use the apps on our phones, we create an undeniable data trail. Once we accept the terms and conditions we rarely read, our private data is no longer such. It is in the cloud.

The cloud is not tangible, nor is it something we as givers of the data can access. Each company has its own cloud servers, each one collecting similar data. But we have to consider why we give up this data. What are we getting in return? We are given access to applications that perhaps make our lives easier or better, but essentially are a service. It's this service end of the transaction that must be altered.

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