Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cloud Computing Risks for Consumers

Professor Roger Clarke will speak on "The Cloudy Future of Consumer Computing", at the Research School of Computer Science, Australian National University, 4:30pm 16 August 2011.
Consumers used to run software on their own devices and store their data at home. They are now increasingly dependent on service-providers for both functionality and data-storage. Risk assessment techniques need to be applied to consumer contexts. These are diverse, covering many kinds of consumer devices, many different consumer profiles, and various consumer needs.

A preliminary evaluation was undertaken of some key legal aspects of consumer protection. It concluded that consumers who place reliance on outsourced consumer services may be seriously exposed, because the Terms of Service of mainstream service-providers offer very low levels of assurance about features critical to consumers' interests.

Brief comments will also be made on the prospects of general-purpose computing devices ceasing to be available to consumers. The driver for this is the increasing dominance over consumer needs of the business interests of equipment suppliers and copyright-owning organisations, the demands of the moral minority to determine what everyone should be able to and not to access, and the national security extremist agenda, which mutually reinforce one another.

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