[FoRK] "removable" media rant (clarified, maybe)

Russell Turpin russell.turpin at gmail.com
Thu Feb 4 15:07:50 PST 2010


Without pretending that my use case defines how things ought to work,
I keep my personal data on an encrypted file system on an SD card.
Everyone once in a while, I tar that, pipe the result through gpg to
encrypt it, and stash the copy on my phone. And, of course, I rotate
SD cards, with the alternate kept off site.

The important aspect to all this, besides having two backups, is that
even if my laptop or phone gets stolen, it's quite unlikely that the
thieves will have the tools and cycles to decrypt the data. That,
arguably, could be managed in some fashion other than putting my data
on a separate device. I'm layering the notion of "encrypted area" on
top of the notion of file system, on top of device. Not very good
separation of concerns.

But given the current tool set, it works for me. As I said up front,
this wasn't an argument about how things should be.

Some time ago, I decided that a (micro-)SD card was a requirement for
my phone, for different reason. The problem with connectivity over a
wire or bluetooth is that phone makers layer an app stack on top that
often is difficult to penetrate. It's not always easy or possible to
connect a phone to a lap top and say "expose your file system."
Carolyn just figured out how to do this with her new Tattoo. The nice
thing about the removable media is that it defines an almost standard
interface. I know if a phone puts its data on a card, I can plug it
into something else to interpret it, back it up, etc., without having
to go through the phone's application stack.


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