When something is free you are the product: Microsoft Edition

Microsoft purchased GitHub in 2018. For those who are not in-the-know, GitHub is a code repository that allows users to work collaboratively with their development team. It is a 3rd-party SaaS offering that offers a free tier and other pair tiers.

Now GitHub Users Want to Sue Microsoft For Training an AI Tool With Their Code. In June 2022 Microsoft announced “GitHub Copilot” – an AI that analyzes GitHub code and provides suggestions to developers using several platforms.

While this sounds all well and good it drifts into the area of privacy. How can we be sure Microsoft is scanning only open source projects? What sensitive information is exposed to this AI? (Lots of credentials are committed to git repositories all the time).

The old saying goes that it is easier to ask for forgiveness and permission this is a case where when something is free you are literally the product. All developers’ hard work has gone into GitHub and is being used for free for Microsoft to create and sell their proprietary platforms.

But where does it end? What if Microsoft was offered lots of money from a competitor of WYX Software which is hosted on GitHub? Will the money talk? Let’s hope not but for a company that is laying off around 1,000 employees one wonders where they will look for cost savings./

Yes, lots of this is speculation. But it our job at Wave Motion Digital to consider the privacy and security of our clients’ code. We do not host our code with GitHub (and no longer with BitBucket). Instead we use our own private repository hosted at https://git.wmdigital.net on our own private server. Developers we work with have access to that code and no one else.

This will be interesting to watch in the coming weeks and months.

Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

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