The Cloud Is a Lie

8 minute read
| Devil's Advocate

The cloud is a lie.  And if you believe in it, you’re not only a sucker, you’ve been brainwashed into accepting your lot as a 2nd class digital citizen.

The cloud is a lie because it convinces you of at least two Stockholm syndrome things: (1) you don’t deserve to own or control your own data, and (2) security for your data does not matter.

The Cloud Is a Lie Graffiti

In support of this, here is a small portion of the many now defunct cloud services that have left their users holding their collective…um…frustrations.

A Partial List of Defunct Cloud Services

 Cloud Service Notes


Apple Ping Not sure you lost much when Ping was shut down, as it was more a baby music related social network. However, it shows that even mighty Apple can and has turned the “off” switch to its cloud services
Microsoft’s Zune Music Service All that DRM music is now useless (as are the players) because there is no cloud DRM authorization server to unlock the music people bought
Walmart, Yahoo, Virgin DRM Zune’d
Ritmoteca Zune’d
Samsung’s Milk Zune’d
Grooveshark For users who put in a lot of energy crafting and curating their play lists, well those nicely managed playlists are gone with the wind  More of a streaming radio service, but it ‘poof’d’
Rdio Playlists Grooveshark’d, bye bye
Rhapsody, Napster Zune’d and Grooveshark’d
Streamnation Grooveshark’d

Online Backup and Storage Both file storage and back up services go ‘poof’d’
Cubby LogMeIn is a successful company and Cubby was a dropbox like service that went ‘poof’d’
Dell’s DataSafe Dell’s cloud and backup storage goes ‘poof’d’ but now they want you to move to Dell Backup and Recovery service, because this time, they won’t let you down baby. This time they’ve changed….
F-Secure Personal storage that aggregated all your data from numerous sources, then went ‘poof’d’
Megaupload Personal file storage service embroiled numerous litigations, but your data went ‘poof’d’ with no real warning or way to get at it
Norton Zone 30-60 days notice given to ‘get your stuff out’ of their cloud storage, and then it went ‘poof’d’
Nirvanix Cloud storage provider goes bankrupt. Of course the new owners (and perhaps their Russian hacker friends) will have much more than a week to make sense of what you thought was your data.  Good luck guessing what they did with that data
Pogoplug Hope you got your data down with the luxurious week of time they gave you. Another cloud storage provider gone bankrupt
Seagate’s Wuala Another major company closing down cloud storage that went ‘poof’d’
Symantec’s Backup At least Symantec gave users a year to get their backup data out, but nonetheless, a large company ‘poof’d’ their backup service.


Google Health Yea, trust your health, and health data to the cloud.  Super smart play.  Google says they would delete the data after 6 months… you hope
Meizu Flyme Nothing like your document management system going up in smoke… “Meizu said all apps and services that are tied to the Flyme cloud service, including the Document Management and Gallery apps, will be completely deactivated […so you know, go $%&* yourself]”


Coin 2.0 The cool multi credit card is useless without the cloud servers as you cannot reprogram your own hardware card
Revolv Nest, the maker of smart thermostats (now owned by Google), killed this smart home hub product, so you know, good luck with your internet based smarthome/thermostat and other Internet of Things not working in the future

Software as a Service Backend

Cisco’s Intercloud So you think that Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, and Google Cloud are forever and they can never go away? Well tell that to Cisco about its Intercloud
DroneShare and DroneKit Nothing like a flying device depending on some no longer functioning backend server
Facebook Parse Parse was used by app/services/sites developers as backend to store and manage data for their app/services/sites

Next: Poof Goes Your Music, Backups, and Cloud-Reliant Hardware

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John Kheitwab95awhConstable Odogeoduck Recent comment authors

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I think you’re right. We’re agreeing past each other.

I had not appreciated the important distinction in your argument of ‘reasonable expectation’, and concur with that; thus my examples with a binary expectation of ‘dead’ or ‘alive’ was not apt.

Thanks for the clarification.


John: At the risk of starting a flame war, which I am not attempting, and which I think you’re above in any case, let me use the Apple Notes deleted data recovery piece, which you cite, as an illustration of why the cloud is not a lie in my view; merely a very human, and therefore imperfect, creation. I pose this as food for thought in the wider context the process by which technology, and life writ large, improves. I do this because I think you’ve raised an important topic with broader relevance beyond that of the cloud. To argue… Read more »


You’re welcome, John.

This is a good discussion.

We do agree on personal cloud solutions.


John: You’ve made an excellent argument about two things, that: 1) one should not become complacent about any single data storage or backup option, particularly one that is proprietary and subject to competitive market forces, but that we should regularly, proactively manage those options, and; 2) given the current state of technology and law, companies (cloud services or otherwise) can abuse your privacy, compromise your security and do you untold harm. Agreed. Neither of these excellent and well-aimed arguments, however, prove or even suggest that the cloud is a lie. Indeed, the cloud is a clear, present and future reality.… Read more »


That was kind of my point – what would be the equivalent of FDIC insurance for the cloud? Mandatory local backups of data? A Bill of Data Rights? Because we can rely on legislators to side with the little people, right?

It’s no wonder people are reverting to analogue.


Thank you for such a well-researched piece – timely and necessary. But think for a moment – how is this any different from other ‘cloud’ services you’ve been using all your life? You work, you exchange your time and labour for some imaginary entity called ‘money’, which (unless you’re Captain Fantastic) you then keep it in a bank, or invest wherever. All the time it is nothing more than a string of bits held on some server somewhere or an entry in a ledger. And up until 2007/8 you never gave it a second thought. Why? Because trust in the… Read more »

Constable Odo
Constable Odo

Wall Street has a different opinion of the cloud. It’s like any company that has cloud services has unlimited revenue potential. All Wall Street ever talks about is AWS. AWS this and AWS that. Amazon has hitched on to bottled lightning. It seems the only major tech company that isn’t going after cloud services is Apple. I’m really surprised Apple hasn’t tried to go after some cloud services if there’s so much unlimited revenue in that business. Listening to Wall Street, I honestly thought there was so much low-hanging fruit that was easily picked by any company with cloud services.… Read more »


There is some truth in this. But you’ve gone too far the other way. Yes music and software as service through the cloud is a bad deal. But using the cloud as ONE PART of your data strategy is a good thing. I use the cloud for backing up and sharing data, but also keep local copies of things. Also not all cloud services are prone to disappearing in the dark of night. I have no qualms about using iCloud because Apple is not likely to vanish. Apple also has the toughest security for their services of anyone. They are… Read more »


I can’t argue with any if this and have felt this way ever since cloud services were first announced. I don’t rely on them for anything but trivial, non-sensitive backups. I would further argue that an awful lot of, if not most of what tech companies are offering/planning/working on these days is similar hoodwinkery. They can pry my backup drives out of my cold, dead, fingers, and my personal files and data will never reside soley on their servers, if at all. Thanks for having the cojones to write this, John – exposing the emperor’s nakedness is not a popular… Read more »