Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak caused discomfort among many web users as he spoke of the potential pitfalls of cloud computing at an event in Washington DC on August 5.
The 61-year-old Wozniak was in Washington speaking after a performance of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, a two-hour expose of Apple's labor conditions in China.
In a post-event Q&A session, Wozniak warned of the dangers of moving data away from hard disks and into remote servers -- known as cloud computing.
Wozniak stated, "I really worry about everything going to the cloud," he said. "I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years," adding "I want to feel that I own things," Wozniak said. "A lot of people feel, 'Oh, everything is really on my computer,' but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we're going to have control over it."
The web weighs in
The web was quick to react to Wozniak's comments. InfoWorld ran an article on August 7 titled "Wozniak is wrong about cloud computing," which, despite its title, provided a balanced argument that users of such services should read privacy agreements carefully and be wary of the data they provide.
Seeking Alpha ran a piece titled "Wozniak spreads Apple iCloud FUD" on August 6, arguing that Wozniak's comments only really applied to Apple's iCloud and its supposed weak point -- AppleCare -- which was exploited last week in a hacking attack on Wired writer Mat Honan.
In an August 6 article titled "Apple Co-Founder predicts 'Horrible Problems For Cloud Computing,'" Manolith argues that in light of Wozniak's comments people need to ask themselves how much they trust companies such as Apple and Google who run cloud storage services.
Outside of specialist tech blogs, several members of Google's own social network, Google+, expressed solidarity with Wozniak. User Robert Aronson wrote,
"I'm with you, man. The whole idea of the Cloud sets me on edge," while developer Lance Sloan expressed the same concerns over ownership as Wozniak and Google+ user Marc Beauchamp wrote, "I feel less crazy knowing that Woz has similar views."
Twitter users were quick to share links to the news and articles arguing both sides, with many also highlighting Mat Honan's case as a showcase of the dangers of cloud computing. Kristin Dziadul (@KristinEDziadul) tweeted, "CRAZY hacking story and commentary by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on the dangers of the cloud" and linked to the Backupify blog. Twitter user and technology journalist Mark Ollig (@bitsandbytes) tweeted "Keeping our data on the cloud? Let's consider the words from #Woz: " ... I really worry about everything going to the cloud." - Steve Wozniak."