Re: Storage site update (Got DAV?)

Edward Jung (
Fri, 3 Dec 1999 19:01:14 -0800

This isn't directly related to DAV, but storage sites. I visited with EPIC
and CDT in DC a few weeks ago. Amazingly, the courts have upheld several
times that you lose your 4th amendment rights ("search and seizure") when
you store information on a remote server.

Apparently, data on a personal machine at home is protected by the 4th
amendment. If a law enforcement or government agency wants data, they need
to show cause, obtain a warrant, etc. If it's protected data, such as tax
returns or legal documents, the bar is even higher. But if you take that
same data and put it on a server owned by another company (e.g. NetLockers),
a lawyer only must subpoena that company to extract the data, e.g. a divorce
attorney can get your Quicken tax records from a backup site. This is
because the data is no longer on your property, and data storage services
are not protected by banking or escrow laws.

In addition, even if the data is encrypted, if the server also holds keys or
password, the keys can also be extracted from the service. The only safe
opportunity is when the keys and password are not known to the server. Most
storage services do hold keys or passwords, in case you lose or forget them
(it's the #1 support call for password-protected services).

It's a fascinating hole, and something to consider when committing data to a
remote server.

----- Original Message -----
From: Jim Whitehead <>
To: FoRK <FoRK@xent.ICS.UCI.EDU>
Cc: Richard Taylor <>; <>
Sent: Friday, December 03, 1999 2:57 PM
Subject: Storage site update (Got DAV?)

> Back in June, I emailed FoRK
> <> about the new trend
> in Web storage sites, and how the real potential for these services is
> collaboration. Of course, on the Web these days, collaboration means DAV,
> you can save directly to these storage sites from within your office
> applications (word processors, spreadsheets, etc.) without having to go
> through the web interface of the storage site.
> I'm very pleased to note that several Web storage sites now offer DAV
> support -- they understand that their sites are all about collaboration.
> Sharemation was the first <>, a site running
> Xythos Storage Server (and mainly acting as a showcase for that server).
> Since their announcement I've used the site a lot, and I like it. I used
> Sharemation to collaboratively work on my ECSCW'99 presntation, in
> collaboration with "The Jester" who is Redmond-based, as well as for
> off-site backups of my survey paper. As well, a friend of mine is planning
> his wedding using some Word and Excel documents they share using this site
> (the first DAV wedding?). Sharemation announced their site in mid-August,
> 1999.
> NetLockers came next <>, and is a site running
> 5.0. The NetLockers service also comes with a free email account.
> some nice integration here -- email attachments you receive show up in
> "Attachments" folder, which you can then access via WebDAV. Your
> WebDAV-accessible site is {your username}, a nice feature,
> but one that creates the only minor bummer I've discovered with this
> service. When you first receive your NetLockers account, you need to wait
> about 15 minutes for the new DNS information to propagate to their server.
> I first heard about NetLockers in early November, 1999.
> The latest, and most high-profile entrant, is My Docs Online
> <>, which is running Apache mod_dav (version
> "0.9 MyDoc"). As far as I know, this is the first production use of Apache
> mod_dav, so I'll be watching to see how it handles the load. Setup was a
> total breeze, although I was initially surprised that they use a different
> server <> for DAV access. Their press
> release announcing WebDAV support came out on Dec. 1
> <>.
> - Jim