Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Cloud Data Storage Encryption

Would You Rent Out Your Unused Drive Space? 331

Press2ToContinue writes "There is a new idea out there, proposed by Shawn Wilkinson, Tome Boshevski & Josh Brandof, that if you have unused disk space on your HD that you should rent it out. It is a great idea and the concept may have a whole range of implementations. The 3 guys describe their endeavor as: "Storj is a peer-to-peer cloud storage network implementing end-to-end encryption would allow users to transfer and share data without reliance on a third party data provider. The removal of central controls would eliminate most traditional data failures and outages, as well as significantly increasing security, privacy, and data control. A peer-to-peer network and basic encryption serve as a solution for most problems, but we must offer proper incentivisation for users to properly participate in this network."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Would You Rent Out Your Unused Drive Space?

Comments Filter:
  • Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:09PM (#48787885)

    Two biggest reasons:

    1) Even encrypted, I'd still be pretty wary of having arbitrary files stores on my machines. Even if legally in the clear, just dealing with an LEA when someone uses your machine as a child porn host is going to be unpleasant.

    2) Bandwidth is far more valuable to me than storage space. I've got tonnes of storage space, it's cheap. Bandwidth far less so.

    • Re:Nope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:11PM (#48787899)

      Besides, who has free storage space!?

      • I do. Though my drive/s have a finite lifespan. So when I get to the point of using about 3/4th total storage capacity, it's time to replace them; proactively when possible.

        Data migration and expanding RAID containers is a major PITA. I absolutely loath the task! Each time it takes longer and longer to transfer date as the growth of storage capacity has far outpaced disk throughput. Because of that, I'm placing all non-essential media (music, movies, games, ISO images..etc) into simple RAID1 or JBOD contain

        • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

          Data migration and expanding RAID containers is a major PITA. I absolutely loath the task!

          That's why you don't use RAID. Instead, use something more flexible. I've been running Greyhole [greyhole.net] for a while now. Adding storage doesn't require shifting files around (unless you want to rebalance storage), you can use drives of different sizes, and you can control the level of redundancy you use (more for important files, less for stuff that's easily replaced). You can yank a disk out of a Greyhole installation and

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Besides, who has free storage space!?

        I've been a pretty big pack rat, in total I think I have 18TB of HDDs. But the last time I was considering expand or delete I started going through my collection and realized you know all these series and movies I'd keep because I might see them again? Guess what, I hardly ever do. First of all there's always something new, secondly if I pull up something old I often remember what's going to get happen and get too bored to actually wait for it to happen. And it's not like this stuff disappears off the Inter

    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@@@gmail...com> on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:19PM (#48787953) Journal

      Storj is based on blockchain technology and peer-to-peer protocols to provide the most secure, private, and encrypted cloud storage.

      That's what they all say. Funny how it never works out that way.

      • Re:Nope (Score:5, Informative)

        by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:48PM (#48788137) Journal

        And the worst problem of remote storage is that you need an internet service provider at both ends to access it. Maybe it's the second worst. Liability issues involving content would be the worst.

        • Re:Nope (Score:4, Insightful)

          by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@@@gmail...com> on Sunday January 11, 2015 @02:20PM (#48788383) Journal
          People with bandwidth caps are going to hate this. People with "soft" bandwidth caps (throttling after x gb) are also going to hate this. But I think the worst is that it now incentivizes people to install a trojan on your system and rent out your storage space without you knowing, same as they did for bitcoin mining.
          • People with bandwidth caps are going to hate this.

            I don't think they will hate it. I think they will just not sign up.

            But I think the worst is that it now incentivizes people to install a trojan on your system and rent out your storage space without you knowing

            Why is that bad? It drives down the cost or storage for the rest of us, and incentivizes people to secure their systems. It is certainly better than them using compromised systems as spambots.

    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:25PM (#48788005)

      Two biggest reasons:

      1) Even encrypted, I'd still be pretty wary of having arbitrary files stores on my machines. Even if legally in the clear, just dealing with an LEA when someone uses your machine as a child porn host is going to be unpleasant.

      From TFA they talk about "shards" being stored on a computer, so that no one computer holds a complete file. But yeah, if LEA comes a knocking then I bet you will still be in deep do-do.

      As for bandwidth, what I don't get is how do you get your files back if you can't guarantee the people you rented disk space from actually have their machines turned on?

      • by Bomarc ( 306716 )
        Are storage spaces (such as Megaupload [wikipedia.org]) responsible for their users files?
        • Are storage spaces (such as Megaupload [wikipedia.org]) responsible for their users files?

          The problem is, that hasn't been decided as of yet. It would make sense to any normal person that they wouldn't be. But law enforcement isn't sure how to deal with such services so they are doing their best to kill the industry with raids, but then drop the cases before they hit court so no ruling can hurt their efforts.

          • The problem is, that hasn't been decided as of yet. It would make sense to any normal person that they wouldn't be. But law enforcement isn't sure how to deal with such services so they are doing their best to kill the industry with raids, but then drop the cases before they hit court so no ruling can hurt their efforts.

            Even if it turns out that you are not legally responsible for the content, that's not going to keep LE from confiscating/impounding your computer systems for an undetermined amount of time.

      • Re:Nope (Score:4, Informative)

        by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <tzzagem>> on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:57PM (#48788225) Homepage

        As for bandwidth, what I don't get is how do you get your files back if you can't guarantee the people you rented disk space from actually have their machines turned on?

        Easy, do it the same way RAID does it: redundancy.

      • "I don't get is how do you get your files back"

        If you keep your files in only one place then many here would say you deserve to lose them.

    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by blackest_k ( 761565 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:26PM (#48788007) Homepage Journal

      makes no sense, how much would you rent out say a 2 terabyte hard drive, cost less than $100 to be worth while. might not be bad if they paid $50 a month for it not so much for $5 a month or less.

      So why are you willing to payout $50 a month for encrypted 3rd party storage which is legal.

      On the other hand say you have a college which needs offsite backups you have another college in the same area also needing off site backups. Now you could could pay for a third party to provide off site storage or you could trade storage space for storage space. If their systems go down they can restore from you and if your systems go down you can restore from you.

      It's not the worst disaster recovery plan ever. However it does need trust between the two parties not so easy between strangers. However you might do it between say your drives and your parents. Assuming your not in the basement of course...

         

      • you can restore from them ... i really should proof read better before posting

        • Man, that was the least confusing part of your post. At that point I was still wondering how many Slashdotters own colleges.

          After understanding what you wrote, though, it is indeed a solid easy strategy. You don't even need to have drives in the systems of your colleagues or family. Just place a NAS in their network and put BTSync or Syncthing (FKAPulseFKASyncthing) on it. With BTSync there even is a hidden method to create an encrypted key so that the data on the 'untrusted' nodes is only there in encrypte

    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @02:29PM (#48788437) Journal

      Even if legally in the clear, just dealing with an LEA when someone uses your machine as a child porn host is going to be unpleasant.

      Imagine this in the UK:

      Police:"We think you have kiddy porn on your computer, what are the contents of these encrypted files?"
      You: "I don't know"
      Police: "Tell us the password"
      You: "I don't know it"
      Judge: "Go to jail until you tell us the password!"

      • You are a sex offender by just having it. Therefore already a criminal and assisting organized crime.

        Liability is too much for me

        • Re:Same in US (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2015 @05:20PM (#48789351)

          You are a sex offender by just having it.

          This. In some US jurisdictions, you are added to the sex offender registry on indictment, even if you aren't convicted. And then you have to work like hell to get yourself off of it if the charges are dropped or you are found not guilty. The burden is on the accused, when it should be on the State.

          Source: I worked in law enforcement for a decade and a half, and a good bit of that time was spent working with the sex offender registry on the back end.

          dkj

    • Which is why both political sides suck.
      We got the government making sure with its complex set of rules that trying to make a few bucks is difficult and risky.
      Then we have the corporations trying to get their own extra cut in the action by trying to charge customers more because they are happening to be making money off their product.

    • If there is any money to be made in "unused" storage space, the LAST people who could economically offer space for the lowest cost is a consumer.

      No cutting edge cost management, no benefits of scalabiliy.

      And who would want to rely on a average consumer's potentially virus infested, unsecure storage space.

      And people who responded to this as if it even could be a serious suggestion didn't think, should be socially reprimanded for being gullible.
    • 1) Even encrypted, I'd still be pretty wary of having arbitrary files stores on my machines. Even if legally in the clear, just dealing with an LEA when someone uses your machine as a child porn host is going to be unpleasant.

      This is the rock where Freenet comes to grief.

      The corporate data service can bury its servers in a salt mine or cavern tucked away somewhere deep in the Appalachians. When ISIS or the Feds are breaking down the doors, on-site physical security becomes their problem, not yours, or your family's.

      The geek can become obsessed with the notion of "plausible deniability." [Not so much with thinking clearly about what is actually plausible, but that is another story.] The problem is finding someone who gives a d

    • Two biggest reasons:

      1) Even encrypted, I'd still be pretty wary of having arbitrary files stores on my machines. Even if legally in the clear, just dealing with an LEA when someone uses your machine as a child porn host is going to be unpleasant.

      2) Bandwidth is far more valuable to me than storage space. I've got tonnes of storage space, it's cheap. Bandwidth far less so.

      Not just that, this is a collective mentality of everyone must share. Do you share your car w/ arbitary strangers, or invite arbitary strangers into your house? Yeah, sometimes, people keep roommates, but it's not a normal practice. Similarly, why would one rent out unused drive space?

      What's more - even for the guy who's buying, why go for that, when they can go to Google drive, Hightail or any other such services?

    • in fact the tahoe lafs idea (erasure coding, you need e.g. any 3 chunks of the 6 floating around to reconstruct your file) is better suited because you are not hosting the whole document, and you can't even brute force decrypt a single chunk to obtain a part of the document either

  • Not a chance. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:10PM (#48787895)
    Drive space is cheap. In addition to not being able to use some of what I have here, I also have to dedicate part of my bandwidth?
    Not happening.
    In addition, whose responsibility is it as to what is 'stored' on my hard drives?

    "proper incentivisation"? You couldn't afford enough to pay me for this.
    • Drive space is cheap, and so are current backup services. I can't imagine that this service would be significantly cheaper than the existing services, so what's the point? There's unlimited (yeah yeah, "Unlimited") backup services for $5/month, so it's not like there's even much money to be saved.
    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      You wouldn't need to dedicate any bandwidth, just set it to low priority. I run several P2P programs that I seed and stuff 24/7. I just have my P2P ports traffic shaped down to just enough to maintain connections, while allowing P2P to use all of my free bandwidth. I will let P2P use right up to 96% of my bandwidth and as soon as my wife starts watching Netflix, Netflix will be allowed to burst, pushing P2P down into the single digits and quickly rebounding once the burst is over. All the while not affectin
  • No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gatkinso ( 15975 )

    For the reasons already cited.

  • by ButcherCH ( 822663 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:16PM (#48787939) Homepage
    That's more or less what Wuala used to have but they dropped this quite some while ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W... [wikipedia.org] For details why the dropped it http://www.eurecom.fr/fr/publi... [eurecom.fr]
    • by Donwulff ( 27374 )

      Ross Anderson and 1996 came calling. [psu.edu] And the cypherpunk movement had reasonable implementations of such an Eternity Service for a decade or two already. This is, of course, not to say that the first implementations have ever been winners in technology sphere. However, rather than "Wowz, there's this rad completely new idea of renting out your storage space!", I'd like to hear what new features they actually bring to the table -- besides marketing.

    • by Donwulff ( 27374 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @02:37PM (#48788505)

      Oh, yeah, they should've said that in the summary - the difference to Morpheus, Freenet, Mojonation, Chord etc. (in no particular order) is that with Storj (which, somehow, is supposed to be pronounced "Storage" according to their site) is that to participate at this stage, you'll have to buy (currently) 300 dollars worth of their freshly minted cryptocurrency. No thanks.

      Additionally from their FAQ: "As described in the MetaDisk whitepaper, we will use Florincoin as an initial solution. Eventually, we will transition to a system with more direct and scalable access to the Bitcoin blockchain via proof-of-existence. As blockchain technology improves we can use systems like Factom to provide faster throughput, and Ethereum to create enforceable contracts on data storage." So... they're in large part relying on technology not even developed yet. I get the modern rush to put software out before anybody else (Or say, 20 years after...), but this does sound like a prime example of putting the cart before the horse.

      • by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @03:33PM (#48788815)
        That catapults it from no to fuck no. Smells very much like scam.
        • by Donwulff ( 27374 )

          I'm trying hard not to be the token anti-cryptocurrency dude here, but yeah, the theme of the year seems to be "We've invented the wheel - now with Bitcoin!". The glut of different freshly minted cryptocurrencies from everybody who arrived upon the bright idea of starting out a new cryptocurrency, pre-mining it a bit and giving a fancy name has led to people differentiating with different tie-ins to try to get people adopt their coin adopted.

          There isn't any instantly apparent reason Storj is tied down to cr

        • Yeah, the coin doesn't seem to be doing well: http://coinmarketcap.com/asset... [coinmarketcap.com]
          It's not on any exchange, either.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:20PM (#48787959)

    I'm constantly wanting more space, never do I have free space. Its a constant matter of managing what I don't delete. I guess I'm a data horder.

    On that same note ... do I really want someone's kiddie porn on my drive with all the legal issues that go with that? No.

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      A lot of people purchase computers with the option of upgrading from 500GB to 2TB for an extra $30. Then they install Office and a few games, leaving them with 1.5TB+ of free space sitting idle until they purchase a new computer a few years later.
    • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

      One of the major online retailers last week had a 5TB USB 3.0 external drive for $129 how much data do you have??? My file server is setup with about 8 TB of space which is plenty it turns out.

  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:21PM (#48787965)
    They 'pay' you in pseudo Bitcoin.
    "Now to rent out something means that there is a compensation for services rendered. This comes in the form of Storjcoin X. Storjcoin X (SJCX) is a token that allows people to buy and rent storage as well as being traded on exchanges. It is a Counterparty asset and uses the Bitcoin blockchain for its transactions."
  • by ip_freely_2000 ( 577249 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:21PM (#48787967)
    No way I'd want to support some a-hole keeping some kind of illegal garbage on my system. Is the company running this idea going to indemnify in all jurisdictions? Is some FBI guy going to kick in my door to grab my drive for the contents of some kind of nastiness? Just a bad idea.
  • Legally difficult (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 15Bit ( 940730 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:23PM (#48787977)
    In the UK at least, you can go to jail for not giving up the decryption keys/password for data stored on your hard disk. As forgetting the pass phrase is not a legitimate excuse, i doubt they would accept the idea that it is someone else's data. So in the event that the police have any excuse to investigate your hard drives, this is a instant ticket to jail.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Just another reason to not visit the UK, not that people in the UK or anywhere else have much of a reason to visit the US these days. I can't say I'd recommend it anyway, and I live here.

      Funny how things that happen all the time are not a legitimate excuse, unless of course they happen to law enforcement. Forget your password (in the UK), potential jail time! Law enforcement "forgets" to share evidence that might cast doubt on your alleged guilt (in the US)--well, that's OK. It must have been a legitima

      • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

        they'll arrest you for something else, like obstructing a police officer, obstructing a highway, ignoring a posted "no stopping" or "no loitering" sign, blocking a public thoroughfare or emergency exit... at which point they have probable cause to seize your camera for evidence and keep it for as long as they want to.

  • While I wouldn't want to rent out space on my hard drive, what if I could get everyone in my family to work together and share some HD space and have a family Virtual SAN? That would be cool. Then I can control who is using the space, not everyone in my family does use all of their hard drive. I can put family pictures in the Family SAN, and automatically everyone can access them. While I don't like the original idea, there are potentials for it.
    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )

      I can put family pictures in the Family SAN, and automatically everyone can access them.

      Most file systems are not meant to handle multi-master or even single-master-multi-reader.

  • It's a pretty cool idea. And the algorithm would be fun to explore, but the individual overhead alone on this systems isn't worth the time or money for the minimal payout. How much could you possibly, reasonably expect to pull in? A few bucks a year? Certainly not enough to offset your new bandwidth and power requirements.

    You'd be better off building a small SAN in your basement and selling cloudiness to people you know for the maintenance costs. A while ago I helped some friends set up a small mesh of

    • by captjc ( 453680 )

      The problem is it is a terrible idea for a service because as it has mentioned by practically everyone in this forum, storage space is cheap, bandwidth is expensive, and kiddy pron. However, for a company to use on internal networks, it would be a pretty neat idea. It would be an interesting way of turning leased or purchased corporate PCs into cloud-based thin clients while still utilizing the (generally) large hard drives most laptop and desktop machines come with. It also means not needing a data center

      • That would be interesting, indeed.

        I've never seen a corporation spring for anything greater than the smallest HDD available, though, so the returns wouldn't be too substantial for anyone on a long-term refresh, though I have seen .5 and 1TB drives shipping recently (and you'd probably want to keep your hands off the SSDs for now). Assuming 100 nodes at an average of 100GB of free space allocation each is perhaps 2TB of questionably reliable storage (10TB of very volatile data). You couldn't allow heavy acc

  • by preaction ( 1526109 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @01:36PM (#48788057)

    And that is all this is.

  • A primary goal of any sort of cloud storage is high availability: when your own system is unavailable, you want to be pretty certain that you can get the cloud copy.

    How many copies of your file would you need to store on random people's hard drives to feel confident that in three years (when you spill beer on your computer) all of those hard drives are still functional, haven't erased your data, and are connected to a computer which is connected to the Internet?

    With enough copies of your data floating aroun

    • I don't even blindly trust the professionals. I have stuff on Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft, but I also have it on my desktop and 2 laptops. No way would I trust everything to one random person's "cloud".

  • by OFnow ( 1098151 )
    Violates TOS for many of us. Plus upload speed horrible from Comcast. (and the other posters are mostly right too: this is just a bad idea.)
  • by Morpeth ( 577066 )

    No. That is all.

  • Nope.

    NOT going to play that game. Even a little.

    Not playing the "Who's liability IS it?" game.

    Because all it takes is one nasty lawsuit to fuck over someone for life.

  • I just set up a file server (NAS4Free), and it currently has tons of extra space. I would be more than happy to get something back for the extra space until I need it.

    For security, I would hope they set up the file servers as Tor dark sites, so even if the encryption fails, there would be no easy way to track down where the storage is.

  • I have a Commodore 64 setup here with a 1581 and two SFD-1001s... That's about 2.8 megs of floppy storage space I can free up.

    How much you want to pay?

  • See e.g. Symform.

  • Unused drive space?? Sorry, what's that?
  • Let me clarify: HELL, no!

  • No.

    For the many reasons already cited.

  • It isn't worth the while for the few days it is unused.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @04:23PM (#48789047)
    I've owned a computer long enough to know it works better when you're using less than 70% of your hard drive. After a certain point, the harddrive starts harder work to find places to write instead of nice continuous blocks. Now by all means, use 80% of your harddrive if you must, but try not to.
  • this sort of assumes that:

    1. encryption works

    2. What happens when Jerry Sandusky is caught, and the police demand your drive.

  • To pedophile priests. How christian!
  • by Dputiger ( 561114 ) on Sunday January 11, 2015 @06:38PM (#48789709)

    One of the fallacies of modern cloud and backup providers is that they actually provide a backup service. Most, including popular services like Backblaze, Mozy, Carbonite, etc contain prominent statements in their contracts that absolve them of any liability in the event of data loss. Your recoverable value in the event they lose your data is limited to either 12 months of service or is explicitly defined as nothing.

    Now plenty of people pay for service with these companies, so I'm not claiming they don't make some effort to provide a genuine backup, but we're *starting* from a position where they explicitly have no liability as defined in the ToS. Now, add in the idea of storing critical or merely important files on someone else's hard drive. What happens if the drive you're storing on is a 5400 RPM Quantum Fireball from circa 1999? When that drive fails, what happens to you?

    It's the same lack of guarantee with a *further* risk factor. No thanks.

Another megabytes the dust.

Working...