SpiderOak is one of many online backup or “cloud” service providers out there.  I decided to give them a try since they claim to have cross-platform support (and I don’t mean just windoze and mac, but multiple linux distros as well) and an awesome “zero knowledge” privacy policy.

Particularly appealing is the privacy policy.  They say that they have no idea what your password is, just that it is used when you install the program to create a key that their system uses when it gets to their end.  Furthermore, they can’t reset your password.  They warn you when you sign up that if you forget your password, you’re fucked.  OK, not in those exact words, but you get the idea.  They also say that they cannot access your stored data, and as such, couldn’t divulge your information if they wanted to, or were ordered to do so.

To be honest, I’m not sure I believe them.  I have no reason to doubt their statement, other than the fact that I don’t trust anybody, and I firmly believe that everyone lies.  However, in today’s era of selective enforcement and warrants based on the flimsiest of evidence, I haven’t seen anyone else in the business make statements as strong.

They only offer 2GB of storage free, whereas others offer 5GB or more.  However, 2GB is enough for me to store the most critical of my data, and their policies and Linux support sealed the deal.  I only backup my e-mail folders and configuration, financial files, and some other critical documents – nothing incriminating or particularly sensitive.  Even so, the data is contained in an encrypted TrueCrypt container formatted as a Linux ext4 partition that can only be read on a Linux box.  If somebody wants to know what day I paid my car payment last month, they’re going to have to work to find out that way.

Yesterday, I got to find out if they really know their shit or not.  Due to the order in which I made some changes to the way I had things backed up (I changed TC files, but forgot to delete the old one before I added the new one) the program was thoroughly convinced that I had exceeded my 2GB limit.  Whenever I tried to do anything, including fixing the problem, it gave me a message, informing me of this fact.

I sent the folks at SpiderOak an e-mail, explaining my problem.  Four hours later, Dana replied.  She (I know Dana can also be a guy’s name, but I’m imagining a hot nerdy chick – don’t ruin my fantasy) gave me simple, detailed instructions on how to fix the problem.  She didn’t have to waste time asking my OS or any similar bullshit.  She knew, right down to the specific distribution of Linux (ubuntu) that I was using.  The fix included a series of commands entered via Terminal (think DOS shell for windoze users) that would have been easy to follow even if I had been new to command line.

Not only was my problem addressed quickly and competently, but she also added 5GB of storage to my account to make sure the program wouldn’t lock up again during the execution of the fix.  She didn’t say if the additional storage was going to be permanent or not, but it was a nice touch either way.

SpiderOak.  Approved by Grumpy.

FTC disclosure to the right applies to this post.
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