The location of your data changes your protections from illegal search and seizure by the federal government. Specifically, if your data is stored in Gmail or Google Calendar, then the government can force Google to hand over your data, and, using a sealed subpoena, Google may not be able to tell you about it. However, if you store your data on your own computer — or, in the case of one TechCrunch writer, you switch to a paper calendar — then the government has to subpoena you directly, in order to get your data.
The only determinant of whether the government has to inform you about taking your data is where the data lives.
Is there an opportunity for new applications that place all functionality in the cloud, and leave the data on your local machine, where users are concerned about privacy?
A few months ago, I wrote an article, and then a second, about the rising opportunity for applications that protect consumer privacy by charging for their application, instead of selling their users’ data through advertising-related services.
As consumers grow more aware of the the threats to their privacy from many angles, there will certainly be market opportunities to fill.