Free cloud storage

The cloud is a current buzzword in technology, referring to remote storage space on the internet. The big challenge with using free cloud storage, as a privacy advocate, is you don’t know what the people on the remote end are doing with it — are they reading or reviewing the files you put there? Are they selling them or providing the information about those files to third parties like advertisers? Is anyone legally responsible if it is hacked/compromised? If they’re offering it for “free”, you’re likely providing the product being sold.

Take Google Drive for example, whose Terms of Service currently suggest that while you own the copyright for files you put there, Google could use the content as well:

“When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, 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.”

That being said, there are a lot of benefits to using the cloud, I just don’t recommend you do it for anything you’d not want public someday. If you want to store confidential files there, encrypt them with something like TrueCrypt or GNU Privacy Guard, that way only you can read them.

Contrary to the marketing of any cloud storage provider, there is no cloud storage that can be trusted as private (only for your viewing, and not theirs) as of writing this. If I’ve not scared you off, here are a few different free solutions:

Free (non-private) Cloud Space (updated Aug 31, 2013)
Dropbox 2GB
Apple iCloud 5GB
Microsoft SkyDrive 7GB
Box 10GB
Bitcasa 10GB
Copy 15GB
Google Drive 15GB
Baidu  1TB
Qihoo  1TB
Tencent Cloud (Weiyun) 10TB

If you know of any others, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

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