[tahoe-dev] Noobie asks how does Tahoe differ from MS Live Mesh?

Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn zooko at zooko.com
Thu Aug 6 16:39:34 UTC 2009

On Thursday,2009-08-06, at 10:06 , CyberAxe-Hotmail wrote:

> How does Tahoe differ from Live Mesh

Here's an old blog entry of mine from when I presented Tahoe-LAFS at  
a workshop attached to the Association for Computing Machinery's  
Conference on Computer and Communications Security.


My presentation on Tahoe went well. At the end a fellow named Zhuowei  
Li, who works on Microsoft Azure, raised his hand to ask a question.  
It was a bit difficult for me to understand him, as English isn't his  
first language. "How do you keep track of all the users's files, to  
see if they have some bad files like pornography or something in case  
the police ask for it?".

"Well, uh..." I hesitated for a second, "in general, we don't. Many  
of our users do ask us to keep a copy of their root cap so that we  
can give it back to them if they forget their password. If we have  
their root cap, then in theory we can traverse all their files and  
inspect them, but we have a policy of not looking at users' files,  
and if they didn't share their root cap with us in the first place  
then there is no way for us to see their files even if we wanted to."

"But you have to!", he exclaimed.

"What? Why?"

"Legal tells me that we have to keep a catalog of files such as  
pornography so for example if the FBI comes."

"Ah," I said, "Well, I believe that the Microsoft legal department  
told you that, but if so then that is a Microsoft policy, not a law  
in the United States. There's no requirement for my company to have  
the same policy."

Later I spoke to him in person, and added that if Microsoft wanted to  
buy http://allmydata.com and use Tahoe in Azure, they could easily  
implement that policy just by making sure they had copies of all the  
customer's read-caps.

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