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General Chat Thread, Article: Is DropBox ok to use? in General; You can view the page at http://www.edugeek.net/content.php?r...pBox-ok-to-use...
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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Article: Is DropBox ok to use?


  2. #2

    Geoff's Avatar
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    On a personal note (I know this isn't scalable at an organisational level) I use truecrypt and encrypt my data before it hits dropbox. Its an extra step, but I know my data is safe and secure that way.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Yep, a good model and DropBox has a good entry on their wiki for it, for those who may not have thought about this.TipsAndTricks/Truecrypt - Dropbox Wiki

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    I have asked my LEA several times now, each time no answer other than "Be a little careful with Dropbox "!

    Okay, I'm being very lax with my quoting, but what alternatives to dropbox are there that give the same freedom and functionality?

  5. #5


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    Quote Originally Posted by CHR1S View Post
    what alternatives to Dropbox are there that give the same freedom and functionality?
    AeroFS. Once it's out of beta, I'm ditching Dropbox for good!

    @GrumbleDook. You may find this useful (slide 16 onwards)...
    http://fak3r.com/geek/defcon-19-taki...nd-going-home/

  6. Thanks to Arthur from:

    mac_shinobi (15th September 2011)

  7. #6

    CHR1S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    AeroFS. Once it's out of beta, I'm ditching Dropbox for good!
    Because AeroFS is completely distributed, even if we experience downtime, you won't!
    So if non of your "friends" computers are on where does it sync to?

    Are all your "friends" signed up with safe harbour?

    Not sure I like it for a school

  8. #7

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    If you are looking at free (or at least no cost in licence or contract) then at the moment the only thing I can point to that I have not come across any show stopping concerns is SkyDrive. There are UK based firms with UK based data centres which can do commercial offerings (and so fit in with DPA, etc) but I don't have a list of those ... and with my day-job hat on ... I can't recommend any of them anyway.

    Some VLE / Learning Platform providers will provide storage, but I am not aware of any who will do anything that does automated synchronising, other than Sharepoint-based options with synching document libraries ... again, YMMV on how good the performance is on these.

    I know of some schools who have been using RSYNC or other synching solutions, but I am not aware of anyone getting these running over the tinterweb in a happy manner ... but I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised (if anyone from Open Source Schools is about they may have examples).

    LAs are often a tad reluctant to give categoric information, especially if you don't buy advice from their legal service / information management / etc ... and the cost of some teams within an LA getting a definitive answer from legal folk is outside of available budgets (if they still have a budget ... which I don't!).

  9. #8

    MK-2's Avatar
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    I'll be perfectly honest, I misread the title and wondered why you were asking "Is Dos_Box ok to use?"

  10. 3 Thanks to MK-2:

    GrumbleDook (15th September 2011), SimpleSi (15th September 2011), ZeroHour (15th September 2011)

  11. #9

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    AeroFS. Once it's out of beta, I'm ditching Dropbox for good!

    @GrumbleDook. You may find this useful (slide 16 onwards)...
    fak3r DEFCON 19: Taking your ball and going home
    I had tried to steer clear of some of these points and purely take items based on DPA as why it is an issue. I like the look of LipSync and can see how it could be good in a school (synching back to school servers) and hope to see what it develops into.

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    to paraphrase...
    DP - Its a sad, sad situation. And its getting more and more absurd

    and

    for evil to triumph, all its needs is for good men to stand idle (a bit OTT I realise [like the article ] - but I couldn't come up with a good alternative!)

    Lets worry about important things!

    Si

  13. #11


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    Quote Originally Posted by CHR1S View Post
    So if none of your "friends" computers are on where does it sync to?
    Nowhere, if you have the cloud backup feature turned off.

    Quote Originally Posted by CHR1S View Post
    Are all your "friends" signed up with safe harbour?
    The main advantage to AeroFS is that you can sync files between two or more computers without your data being stored (temporarily or permanently) in a random data centre somewhere in the world. It works exactly like Dropbox except you have far more control over where your files are located.

    The files are transferred directly between computers via an encrypted connection without passing through a middleman. Your friends could simply be "me, myself and I" (there's nothing stopping you from setting up multiple accounts).
    Last edited by Arthur; 15th September 2011 at 05:29 PM.

  14. Thanks to Arthur from:

    SimpleSi (15th September 2011)

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    box_l's Avatar
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    I don't believe that even SkyDrive meets the criteria, I understand that the US "Patriot Act" trumps all others if the company or subsidiaries are US owned.
    This means that any Microsoft owned service can be accessed at any time id the US so desires.

    I know that the need a good reason to look, but -Nothing- will stop them if the want to see your data.
    Search "patriot act data protection uk"
    Just one of may links:Data Protection and the Patriot Act

    I am not concerned for my own rather boring collection of scripts and so on that I store in DropBox, SkyDrive or where-ever, but students, (or even staff), personally identifiabled information should NEVER be stored outside the school without being heavily encrypted.Even things like Sims Learning Gateway, E-portal accessible from the CMIS VLE offering worry me.

    BoX
    Last edited by box_l; 15th September 2011 at 08:01 PM. Reason: formatting

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    double post
    Last edited by box_l; 15th September 2011 at 08:00 PM.

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    I have asked for clarification re Patriot Act but from what I had previously been told during DPA discussions the reference to accessing data from EU customers is when it is already outside of the EEA, i.e. if the data centres used are in the US. With DropBox we don't know what they are using or where. They say Amazon ... but nothing guaranteed. At least with SkyDrive we know it is within the EEA (Ireland and fail over to the Netherlands IIRC)

    If the Data Centres are in EEA and are run within the EEA then any seizure of data is the a factual breach of DPA. A company cannot transfer the data from within the EEA to outside of the EEA without your consent, even if the Patriot Act is used. To do so would mean that an individual is being forced by the US authority to breach the laws of another country, ... and if you consider the number of companies who operate on Govt contracts who have US sections (or are US based) then there could be a royal bun fight should it be tried.

    But, as I have said, I have asked for clarification on that.

  18. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    I know of some schools who have been using RSYNC or other synching solutions
    Why does a school need to use any kind of syncing solution in the first place? Surely users either want direct access to their file area or, ideally (especially for staff handling pupil data and so on), a remote access solution that lets them edit their files using the school's system. That could be something a bit cludgy like letting them access an RDP desktop, or do it peoperly and make your system web-based. The fewer files containing pupil data you have wandering around outside the school the better.
    Last edited by dhicks; 16th September 2011 at 09:14 AM.

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