Have you ever read through the Terms of Service of a product you use? We don't blame you—it's not easy to get through all that messy legalese. But they carry some really important implications when it comes to the ownership and usage of your data. Google’s Privacy & Terms document, for example, doesn't claim any intellectual property over your content, however they state:
You give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.
Even though they don't make claims to own your content, by using services like Google Drive or Gmail, you give Google and its partners a license to analyze, remix, and redisplay your content. This flexibility could leave your and your data vulnerable. Microsoft’s Services Agreement fairs no better.
You are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses (including, without limitation, all Microsoft Services), including, without limitation, the license rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate and reformat your Submission; to publish your name in connection with your Submission; and the right to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Services.
Again, not an ideal circumstance for the users of OneDrive or other Microsoft cloud services. Dropbox’s Terms are the most comprehensible, but its open-endedness may be concerning to some. Especially since in 2014 they added Condoleezza Rice to their Board of Directors. As the former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, Rice was instrumental in that administration’s warrantless wiretapping of domestic targets as well as United Nation officials. A questionable decision for a cloud company responsible for the private storage of millions of users' data, and one that was met with much resistance.
In 2013, former infrastructure analyst at the NSA, Edward Snowden, traveled to Hong Kong to leak documents on mass surveillance programs in use by the NSA, operated without oversight, that effected every U.S. citizen. These documents revealed that the U.S. government required Verizon to turn over phone records of millions of Americans, the existence of PRISM, a program that allows the NSA to extract video chats, photos, emails, documents, and other contents from civilian computers, and XKeyscore, a computer system that collects and analyzes global internet data—allowing for your emails, passwords, and files to be read by anyone with access.
In early 2016, the FBI requested Apple create a backdoor into the iPhone of a terrorist involved in the San Bernardino attack in December 2015. Apple provided the data it could, but refused to design this tool because of its threat to the security of the millions of iPhone users in the world. In his letter to customers, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote “If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data.” The FBI eventually unlocked the phone using the tools at their disposal, so clearly this was an attempt to establish a dangerous precedent.
The Trump administration is an overt risk to data privacy in 2017. Peter Thiel, President Trump’s Transition Advisor, is the co-founder of data-mining company Palantir has used this service to provide assistance to the US Customs and Border Protection agency in instrumenting the “extreme vetting” practices threatened by Trump. As a result of the travel ban, a US-born NASA scientist was blocked from entering the country until he gave the passcode to his NASA-owned smartphone that contained classified information. This event in particular inspired the Nimbus Killswitch feature—an alternative passcode that, when entered, will erase all the data on your Nimbus device.
Nimbus is unlike any other cloud service because you never lose control of your data or give it up to a third-party. Nimbus is a device without a subscription that lives in your home where it’s not influenced by terms and policies that ask for rights to your content. Any data you upload immediately goes through strong 128-bit AES encryption, and since there is no centralized database of account information, your Nimbus is out of the radar of services hackers may try to break into if they found your login information through a breach of another service.
Additionally, if you use our optional cloud backup service Accumulo, your content will be backed up to our servers fully encrypted—leaving the encryption and decryption keys in your hands—so if any federal organization requires us to turn over user data, they most they will get are a bunch of one’s and zero’s that will take 1 billion billion years to crack.