Why Leave Gmail, Dropbox and Others?

If you happen to be following any of the recent Washington Post and Guardian articles on the NSA and it's double secret spying programs you can't help but wonder: "Should I really by relying on companies like Google and Microsoft to store my information?" If you also happen to follow any tech forums and websites you'll notice a massive uptick in "How to encrypt your email" guides, articles, and posts. If you also follow the big tech news you'll read about the shutdown of Groklaw, Lavabit and various other enhanced security websites. If you read enough of these articles you might just become extremely paranoid.

Personally, I thought this was somewhat occurring before the big release of information that Snowden leaked. I didn't believe, however, that they had backdoor everywhere with major tech companies, but it doesn't really surprise me. If you don't pay for a service then one shouldn't expect any privacy related to that service - expect the company to sell ads based on your habits and various other information gathered. I don't expect for it to be used in unconstitutional actions, but that's a debate for another day.

My Primary Reasons

Should you leave some cloud services to switch to a more reasonably private services? The questions battling it out in my head are over do I leave Google, Dropbox, and Evernote?

Political Stance

While I try to avoid divulging my exact political opinion, I don't think many would argue that for the most part politicians are sponsored by corporations and they tend to act in their favor.[1] Writing your congress person won't get you very far with this debate. There will not be a major action taken against these programs because it affects the budgets and revenues of major corporate entities. However, it's been noted that cloud based companies are going to see a drop in revenue because of these programs and Microsoft and Google are suing the NSA over privacy issues. So if you jump on the bandwagon and leave you're contributing to the starvation of the wolves which leaves them to act out, in your place, against the Patriot Act.

The bottom line: Leave cloud services to make a political stance, if you're conscientious objector.

Overall Privacy Concerns

Let's make this very clear, if you want it to be private don't type it, don't speak it, and never add it to anything that stores the information. One should never expect privacy out of a digital device(s). If you'd like some reasonable privacy then you might consider building your own infrastructure. If you do a reasonable job maintaining the services, it's possible that you just might know when your rights are being violated. Honestly though - you probably won't because if there's a will, then there's a way. It will more than likely prevent the general curiosity of snooping, but it won't stop someone who really wants information from you.

The bottom line: Leaving cloud services will boost your privacy, a little bit.

Points Made by a Devil's Advocate

It's probably easier to hide in the weeds of freebie cloud services then it is to switch. It's also going to financially impact you and impact your free time to run your own services. Chances are slim that you'll make an actual impact, not to mention the amount of time you'll spend switching, migrating and the general inconvenience that you'll cause yourself.

The bottom line: You're just going to make your life more difficult for your principles.

Closing Thoughts on Leaving Gmail, Dropbox, and Some Others


I'm a person of principles and I tend to stick with my principles despite it's costs. In this case I'm completely against the current violations of the Constitution and I plan to stick it to 'The Man' in the only place I know to be heard. So I'm going to research rolling out my own "private" cloud and look into the implications of doing so.

The bottom line: I'm out like the fat kid in dodge ball. I'm slowly switching to the point, I can't handle it anymore.