What price privacy?

I recently started considering what had happened with the upgrade to IOS 5 and the encouragement to move to iCloud. I had been a long standing me.com user and willingly paid my family membership of 70 quid(-ish) per annum - this because I believed (perhaps erroneously), that unlike gmail, Apple was not trawling through my personal email and extracting value from it in mysterious ways. I transfered to iCloud and then observed that my me.com account (which had some number of months to run before renewal) had moved to a 10Gb paid for service, but come the end of my subscription it would revert to 5Gb and become free.

Sorry, Heinlein had it right, TANSTAAFL.

It's not free to provide so somewhere along the line Apple is making money and it's not transparent where. And I've been talking to too many "privacy fundamentalist" lawyers recently. So back to the future - I dusted off the trusty DELL SC440 installed Ubuntu, grabbed Dovecote, poked the firewall and hey presto I'm back to self hosting.

So the Dell cost £110 a few years back - let's depreciate the capital over 5 years; it consumes about 35 watts (£35 per annum running costs) - cost of privacy, about £57 per annum for the whole family and 750Gb of space.

Of course my tech friends will tell me there's much lower power cheaper solutions for self hosting (where are those Raspberry Pi's?), to which my ripost - in 5 years it'll be doing it in the home router and we won't even notice the extra cost.

Cloudlets - here we come.

Written on February 22, 2012