Your service, my data

This is was also posted on Google+

Your service, my data.

Recently there have been a few high profile stories about users whose Google accounts were suspended for ToS violations. I’m sure that some were more justified than others. That’s not the big problem. The problem is the impact of these decisions.

Your services, my data.

Google’s own Data Liberation Front agrees.  Here’s their mission statement:

Users should be able to control the data they store in any of Google’s products. Our team’s goal is to make it easier to move data in and out.

Cloud providers are landlords. In this case, Google is the landlord of my Google+ profile. Under certain circumstances the landlord has the right to terminate my lease. Under no circumstances can the landlord hold or destroy my data.

When Google (or any cloud provider) decides to terminate a user’s service they should make all the user’s data available for download for a reasonable period. Google is already 80% there with Google Takeout.

+Eugene Spafford nailed it in a discussion yesterday. Cloud providers had better start behaving like reasonable landlords or sooner or later they will find themselves regulated.