You’ve probably seen the phrase end-to-encrypted on various messaging services and web pages before and you may have an intuitive sense of what it means. The idea is that nobody but you and the intended recipient has access to the information you’re sending.
You’d think that would be standard practice on the internet, wouldn’t you? A basic minimum, given that your data passes through a number of nodes and different servers before reaching its destination.
It turns out that it is standard practice for the most part, but strangely not so in the world of cloud storage. The major providers love to talk about how they care about your data privacy but when they’re asked about end-to-end encryption on their own help forums, it’s like watching a politician squirming as they’re challenged by a tough interviewer.
The truth is none of the major platforms offer end-to-end encryption. While they may encrypt your data, they still have the key. That means they can view your data and even use it for their own purposes. The question is, do you trust them?
We’ll explore the reasons behind this curious fact below, but first, let’s look at what end-to-end encryption is and how it works.
What end-to-end encryption (E2EE)?
You may have an idea of what end-to-end encryption means, or at least how it functions. But let’s dig a little deeper and explore what’s really going on when you send data over the internet.
Encryption is the process of scrambling information carried in files so that it can’t be understood by unwanted parties. The data is unscrambled, or decrypted, at the other end by anyone who has the encryption key.
When you send information through a messaging service or share it through the cloud, the information passes onto these third-party servers before being sent on to the recipient.
End-to-end encryption means that your data is encrypted all the way until it reaches the intended recipient’s device. Meaning that the third-parties in the middle, and anyone else who intercepts the data, cannot read the content.
Given how much data we have in the cloud and how much we all rely on third-parties in almost all our interactions online, end-to-end encryption is a vital piece in keeping your data private.
Why do the major cloud storage providers not want to offer end-to-end encryption?
On the face of it, you’d think that the biggest cloud storage providers would jump at the chance to offer end-to-end encryption and use it as a selling point.
Given it is used on services like Whatsapp and all the major web browsers as standard, it’s curious that none of the major cloud storage players offers it. Why is this?
Well, the innocent explanation is that they want to offer you convenience and they need access to your data to move files around their servers and make it shareable and accessible from different devices.
But they could still do this with your data encrypted.
The most cynical among you might suspect that the real reason is that they want to have access to your data because it is part of their business model.
The biggest tech companies make their money by using information about you to sell advertising or even by selling your data directly.
Yes, they take subscription fees, but the real cash comes from exploiting their users’ data. It’s no wonder they don’t want to protect it then — it is the cornerstone of their business.
You might say, fair enough. That’s how they make their money and they’re providing me with a free service, why not?
Sure, but why aren’t they open about it. The major providers will talk about data security and privacy until the cows come home but dig into their terms and conditions and it’s a different story.
They will argue that they offer encryption via the HTTPS standard and that your files are safe on their system. But that does not mean they can’t view it and sell on your information. Take a look at the privacy policies of the major providers and you’ll likely find clauses that give them free rein to do what they like with your data.
So what’s to be done? Is there an alternative? Hint: read on and you might find out!
Can you use cloud storage with end-to-end encryption?
The good news is other cloud storage providers have recognized the demand for more transparency and respect for users’ privacy. The problem is that many of these services are difficult to use and don’t provide you access to the data you already have stored on the major platforms.
They tend to provide you with the encryption key, giving you control over who sees what. But they don’t back it up which means if you lose it, you lose access to your data.
There is one platform that offers access to the major platforms, your own encryption key that can also be backed up on their secure servers and end-to-end encryption so you know your privacy is protected.
Treasure is a cloud storage provider with your privacy top of mind. With Treasure, you have end-to-end encryption on all your data, including files stored on the other major platforms, which can all be accessed from one Treasure dashboard.
You are in control of your encryption key. So you can choose to keep it to yourself or back it up to Treasure’s secure server.
So with Treasure, you can have the easy access and benefits of using the largest cloud storage providers, safe in the knowledge that your data isn’t being seen by any prying eyes, or predatory tech platforms. You are in complete control over your privacy and security.
What’s more, it’s free to sign-up and you get 10GB of storage space to get you started. Tell your friends and you can add a further 40GB of storage for free.