September 17, 2010
The VAR Guy talks a lot about the power and potential of the cloud in the IT channel. But when a former Google engineer is caught spying on users’ personal data and stalking underage users, it’s an unsettling reminder that cloud computing carries dangers, too. Here’s the story.
First, a VAR Guy tip of the hat as always to Valleywag for getting the story — and I strongly suggest you take a look at the full account if you want to know how egregious the violations were. Valleywag reports that David Barksdale, a 27-year-old former Google engineer (fired in July 2010), took advantage of his position at the company to access accounts and stalk four minors he met at a technology group.
More worrisome for the IT world, his title was Site Reliability Engineer at Google’s Kirkland, Washington office. That means that a creep with no compunctions about peeking into personal data was also responsible for making sure that data stayed highly available.
Valleywag’s article indicates that Barksdale was more about mischief than real maliciousness. But there are still questions left unanswered.
Cloud security breaches do happen, despite several vendors’ best efforts. And while this story doesn’t mean that the cloud is doomed, it does mean that users and VARs alike should be confident about who they share their data with – or else back out of the deal.
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