For those that don’t use Dropbox, think of it as an automatically syncing flash drive in the cloud, an excellent way to keep files synced across multiple computers and have them available on whatever device you have in front of you at the time. (Here is the official explanation.) Because of Dropbox I never need to carry assignments, syllabi, or journal articles that I want to read with me, or on a flash drive. These are just stored in the cloud and I can access them anytime the need arises. And this is just the tip of the ridiculously useful iceberg that is Dropbox. If you want more, just look at all the times it is mentioned on Profhacker (or just Google Dropbox uses and see what I mean). Dropbox has become one of the most important services in my media/computing ecosystem. On a scale of one to ten for usefulness and ease of use Dropbox is an 11.
About a month ago I started to see reports that expressed concern over Dropbox security, questions about the encryption being used, and who has access to the files you store on there servers. Basically there are to two sets of concerns. The first is that by design Dropbox is insecure. You can read the whole article, which is mildly technical but amounts to a concern that it would be fairly trivial for a nefarious party to steal one file and thus gain access to all your files without you necessarily knowing. The second is that Dropbox updated their Terms of Service to reflect the fact that they have access to your files if needed. In other words if the government subpoenas Dropbox, Dropbox has the ability to turn over your files in unencrypted form to the officials. (I know what some of you are thinking: Who cares, I am not doing anything illegal? … but wait I promise you should.) Both of these issues boil down to the fact that the encryption of your files takes place on the Dropbox servers, not on your own computer. In other words the question is who has the keys to your file(s) and where are those keys stored.
A pretty interesting read over here.