Home / Blog / A nice, ugly surprise

A nice, ugly surprise

These photos were stored in my personal account back in 2003, and were deleted in 2006. They have resurfaced now.

It already happened to me twice, and possible to thousands of other people around the world.

The screenshot of the email I received from Amazon

I got an email with a link, courtesy of Amazon, that told me to look at what happened that day in 2003 (once, the other time was 2002, I seem to remember). I duly clicked on the link (the Amazon source looked fine) and indeed I was shown a few photos that I uploaded many many years ago on the  Amazon account that, at that time, provided unlimited space, for free, to store my photos.

What a nice surprise to be reminded of those times!

Yet, after enjoying the memories a doubt started to creep in: how could Amazon still have my photos since I received some 6 years ago a message indicating that the photo storage service would have been discontinued (I could opt for a pay service) and I would have to download my photos since they would no longer be accessible after a 30 day grace period?
I chose not to use their pay-service and downloaded my photos to a different cloud. I assumed, in doing so, that my photos would be deleted from the Amazon cloud but clearly my assumption was wrong and my photos, although I no longer have rights to see them (nor delete them!) are still there available to Amazon. I am not particularly concerned of this, but still it is a clear indication that my ownership of data is just a figment of my imagination: the ugly truth is that whatever goes in the cyberspace, most likely is beyond my control, in spite of all GDPR talks…

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.