Dropbox is a great service for lots of people. For what it does, it works very well and is reasonably priced. Also, it uses some of the best technology that I've ever seen to make it easy to backup and share your files. I have been a paying Dropbox customer for over 5 years now. I was an early adopter and have come to really rely on it in a lot of ways.
Now that I've said all of those nice things, why I need to stop using a service that has been so useful to me for so long? Simply put, we live in a port-Snowden world with an internet that is actively being subverted by bnumerous organizations, including what is in my opinion rogue governmental organizations like the NSA. These organizations often infringe on the privacy of internet users at large in unethical and illegal ways.
So what does Dropbox have to do with that? Well, as a web company they provide a one-stop shop for some organizations to acquire massive amounts of personal information. To fix this issue, I therefore need to create my own personal cloud that does everything that Dropbox does for me today that I would miss. This conversion will make it harder for criminals and rogue governmental organizations to perform dragnet-style surveillance of my personal and private activities.
First I need to identify the features of Dropbox that I can't live without, and then I need to figure out how I can replace them. Also, unlike a lot of other blog posts and tweets that say "just use Product X", I'm going to implement my solutions myself and write about the process here. And finally, I hope to automate the processes that I describe in my blog posts so that they can be easily implemented by large numbers of people very easily and quickly.
By the time I'm done others should also be able to use my notes, processes and scripts to drop their dependency on Dropbox and make their little slice of the web a much more private and decentralized place.
My first goal is to replace my offsite backup needs using a Raspberry Pi, a friend's home network and btsync. I have a somewhat vague idea in my head of how I'm going to do this in a way that is cheap and easy for others to copy, but I definitely have my work cut out for me. Please keep following this blog for regular updates on this process.
I also need to figure out how I'm going sync files between all of my personal devices, backup truecrypt partitions and save multiple versions of all of my files. There requirement may also be satisfied by btsync, but as of now I can't say that for sure.
If you are considering following in my footsteps, you need to ask yourself if the this is all worth it. Yes, ditching Dropbox will require quite a bit of time and effort (and even a little bit of money). The good news is that you will learn loads of new things in the process and probably have fun along the way.
For me, it's completely worth it and I can't wait to share my offsite backup system.