Revenge of the small print

by | Jan 20, 2016

If I asked you what an EUL was, would you know?

It’s an End User Licence agreement, the terms and conditions under which we use software and applications.

If I asked you if you read them for every piece of software you use, would you say yes?

Possibly not.

If I asked you to handover all of your business information and your family photos to me so that I could do what I wanted with the information, would you agree?

Are you mad? Of course not.

So why do you keep using Cloud based storage utilities without reading the EUL?

As our consumption of data has grown so has our need to store it. Enter stage left….The Cloud. This is the solution that has been presented to us for many things; safe secure storage is just one of them, you can never lose it. Business data – sorted. Precious family pics – sorted.

But are they?

A look at the EUL’s of some of the most commonly used cloud storage options show that by uploading your data to them you are agreeing to their taking ownership of your information. Uuum…I bet that’s not what you were after.

It’s there in black and white as part of the pages and pages of EUL we either don’t look at all of scroll through – really, really fast. Being cynical I’m going to say that these EUL’s are designed to put people off properly looking at their contents. Who in their right mind is prepared to read that lot? Well some people do.

We have a duty to protect our data but more needs to be done to make this information simpler, easier to access and what you are agreeing to being made more transparent. I’d also feel that it is being particularly underhand keeping your data; unlike social media this is not information that is in the public domain, therefore I can only feel They are using it to build up a secret dossier on me which They……sorry, I got carried away. But you have to agree, this has a sinister and deceitful feel to it.

There are other options. Utilities such as WeTransfer do not have this clause, but you must check the EUL yourself so that you can satisfy your own conscience that their utility is honest and open. FTP’s are easy enough to get; speak to your IT supplier who will be able to help. Buffalo Link Stations are small boxes that are secure and can be accessed from anywhere.

I’m not an IT professional so I’m out of my depth on the technical issues, but there’s loads of help and information available. Just make sure you check what you’re doing when you use one of these tools and make sure you’re OK with what you are agreeing to.

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