Conversations about life & privacy in the digital age

Santa’s Naughty or Nice Tech Companies 2012

On this day of December 25th, we hope those of you who received the magic of Santa are busy admiring and playing with your new gifts. Congrats for being such a good boy or girl. If you awoke to coal in your stockings, well, better luck next year! You probably didn’t need to accumulate more ‘stuff’ anyway.

As mentioned, Santa granted us permission to publish his list of the 5 naughty and 5 nice tech companies of the year. As it turns out, Santa shares our love of privacy which is why he and his elves only use SpiderOak. Wanting only the best for you, he kept his eye on those companies who seemingly cared about your data and those who didn’t. We asked you to submit who you thought made the lists and ho ho ho did you reply! Nearly 800 votes were cast. Thanks to all of you who participated in our little guessing game.

Here is who you thought made the naughty list:

A total of 61 companies were cited. Dropbox, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Skype, Amazon, Verizon, Canonical, Oracle, and AT&T were also mentioned numerous times.

Here are the companies you believed were on the nice list:

A total of 102 companies were mentioned including: Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Mozilla,, Evernote, Facebook, Silent Circle, Valve.

As you might imagine, Santa and his elves had a difficult time whittling down the list but in the end a list must be created. And with no further ado, the official results…

Santa’s Naughty Tech Companies of 2012

5. Verizon

Selling customer information such as geographical information, app usage and online activities lands Verizon on this list. Though customers can opt out of this type of monitoring, Santa believes Verizon should give its customers the choice to opt in.

4. Apple

From Siri to childrens apps, this tech company was far from being the apple of Santa’s eye this year.

3. Instagram

The end-of-the-year TOS revision in order to sell off user photos without compensation (and then immediately rethinking its decision) made Instagram a naughty naughty winner and recipient of a class action lawsuit.

2. Google

Ever on the hot seat for improper data collection and sharing, possible misuse of search results, page rank manipulation, and more, Google does not share the same passion for privacy as Santa.

1. Facebook

Where does Santa begin? Facebook’s latest decision to sell access to your inbox? Bottom line, you and your data generate a lot of revenue for the social network. Santa wants and needs to keep his information private so don’t ever expect to be ‘friends’ with him.

Santa’s Nice Tech Companies of 2012

5. SpiderOak

What did Santa want for Christmas? Zero-Knowledge! (Plus – many of you had mentioned us and we greatly enjoy giving away free GBs.)

4. Silent Circle

Santa recommends this new service for voice, video and text-message communication. Brought to you by the developer of Pretty Good Privacy”. SpiderOak is a big fan too!

3. Mozilla

A big supporter of Do Not Track, Santa was proud of the leadership role Mozilla took on user privacy.

2. Twitter

Although they teetered on that naughty / nice line, Santa ultimately decided ‘nice’ after following Mozilla’s lead for enabling Do Not Track.

1. DuckDuckGo

If Santa’s searches were able to be tracked then what surprises would await all those little boys and girls Christmas morning? As such, he needed to find an alternative to Google. DuckDuckGo doesn’t use cookies, doesn’t save personally identifiable information (not even your IP address), and doesn’t use targeted ads – making this company Santa’s personal favorite.

If you matched any of the companies on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list, you will receive 2 free GBs of storage. If you matched all 10, you’ll receive 30 free GBs. Expect the additional storage to hit your accounts very soon.

Again, thanks for joining our holiday fun and from all of us as SpiderOak,

Merry Christmas!

Naughty or Nice Tech Companies

Working at SpiderOak does come with its privileges and secrets.

You can imagine our surprise when Santa and his elves shared with us this year’s Naughty or Nice list. Being one of the most secretive and elusive men of all time, it’s no wonder Santa shares our love and passion for privacy.

On December 25th, Santa will allow us to release the names of the 5 tech companies that made his nice list and the companies taking up 5 spots on his naughty list.

Think you know who they might be?

Send your guesses to For each match, receive 2 free GBs of storage. Match all 10 and receive 30 free GBs.

Submissions will be received and counted up until midnight (pst) on Christmas eve.

You better watch out!


(We like our Santa’s like we like our data; secret, private and secure)
People of many backgrounds and belief systems spend time in December reflecting on the year that is coming to an end, setting goals and making plans for what’s ahead. This month brings out the generosity and excitement in many of us which is why we thought it would be nice to do something a little different this year.

A popular holiday activity is called Secret Santa. You may know of it by a different name; however, the idea is the same. Secret Santa is a fun and easy way for a group of friends, family members or co-workers to exchange gifts. One very well known ‘Secret Santa’ program is the ‘Reddit Secret Santa’ ( whereby community members all over the world trade holiday gifts.

Being both members and fans of the reddit community and also significant fans of the ‘privacy’ concept, we at SpiderOak decided to run our own 100% free ‘Secret Santa’ program.

I can give away things for free?

Yep! Starting today, you can send anyone a gift to whomever you choose, on us! The gift will be a random selection between:


- iPod Touch (1 prize available)
- A pair of socks (5 prizes available)
- 100 GB plan (10 prizes available)
- 5 GB plan (1000 prizes available)
- 30% discount on all SpiderOak yearly premium data plans (unlimited prizes available)

But how does it work? Can I do it right away?

Yes. Simply go to and enter the name, the email address, and personal message (optional) to one of your friends, colleagues, pets or family members.

On December 25th we will randomly match email addresses from the pool of entries with gifts from the prize-pool and send out a ‘Secret Santa Email’ notifying your recipient of what ‘you’ have given them and how they can claim their gift. If you enter a personal message, this will also be delivered to the recipient and joy will be had by all!

Please enjoy the SpiderOak Secret Santa program and have a safe, happy & healthy holiday season!

Why Should SpiderOak Choose You to Go Into the Clouds?

It’s that time of year again. Very soon the birds will start their migration toward snowbound northern cities, the first buds of spring will sprout on trees. At the same time, hordes of college students will descend on the beaches of Mexico, the Caribbean and the southern U.S. – turning them into cesspools of sunburn bodies, margaritas and wet T-shirt contests. Ah, spring break.

Spring Break is also a time for college students from around the world to get together and celebrate being young and loving life. In just a few months and/or years most students will have to emerge into the real world (whatever that means). More than 250,000 students will be traveling with friends, family, neighbors, dogs, cats, etc to enjoy the festivities. Reminiscing – it hasn’t been too long since I was in that position. In fact, many of us at SpiderOak remember those days vividly. And we understand how complicated the planning can be. As such – we would like to help you get to your destination by sending you up into the clouds.

There are a number of times in your life where you might need to write an essay or explain why you deserve that ‘top’ spot. These essays are designed to test two major elements: 1) your ability to write well; and 2) your ability to persuade. A beautifully written essay that doesn’t persuade the reader is of no use to you; similarly, a poorly written essay with a strong argument is just as useless. We want to put those skills of yours to use. As my middle school teacher used to tell the class, “put your thinking caps on!”

Essay Instructions

First – Write a few paragraphs (no more than 500 words) on why you should be chosen to receive a $300 American Airline gift card to fly anywhere you want.

Second – You can post your essay on Facebook, Google+, or even your own blog (providing a link).

Third – Tell your friends and family! You do not have to be a student. Anyone can enter!

Fourth – Each person may enter only one essay.

Fifth – Submit all entries by March 11th, 2012

The grand prize winner will be featured on our blog and asked where you went on your trip.

Grand prize: A $300 American Airline gift card to travel wherever your heart desires! We’ll also give you 10 GBs of storage if you promise to take lots of pictures and back them up from your trip. Don’t worry, what is uploaded on SpiderOak, stays on SpiderOak. Zero-knowldge and all that… ;-)

1st and 2nd runner up will receive 10 GBs to store your precious moments as well.

Judging Guidelines:

  • Essays will be judged by your peers and our panel of experts on the SpiderOak team.
  • The judges decision will be final.
  • We are judging effectiveness, insightfulness, creativity, and completeness. As well as sentence structure, range of vocabulary, use of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • 50% – Judges decision
  • 35% – Idea Content. Originality
  • 15% – Number of ‘Likes,’ Retweets, and shares on Google+.
  • Even if you don’t win the grand prize, we at SpiderOak want to wish you all safe travels and a good time. Be safe & remember that you only live once!

    Good luck!

    Twitter contests here we come!!!

    Here at SpiderOak, we are all about providing an innovative and secure online backup, synchronization, and sharing solution in addition to great service to our customers. However, we also have lighter side.

    With the release of our Sync functionality and brand new Affiliate Program, we have decided to reward our Twitter friends by starting the monthly SpiderOak Twitter Contest!

    Starting May 11th, anyone that follows @SpiderOak_Inc on Twitter (start now!) and Re-Tweets: ‘Just entered the SpiderOak Free Account Contest! You can win by following @Spideroak_Inc and RT!‘ will be in the running for one of two (2) 1-year 100GB SpiderOak Premium accounts. And we will award two (2) 100 GB Premium accounts EVERY MONTH!

    The rules are as easy to follow as using SpiderOak!

    • Follow href="">@SpiderOak_Inc
    • Re-Tweet ‘Just entered the SpiderOak Free Account Contest! You can win by following @Spideroak_Inc and RT!

    The winners will be announced via Twitter the 30th of every month and here on the blog.

    Psst… If you can’t wait or are feeling unlucky, you can use the promotion code ‘twitterspideroak’ and pick up an exclusive 20% discount on any yearly purchased account – 100 GB, 200 GBs, and so on… This offer is only good for one week from the time of this posting.

    Rules: The contest is open to anyone including previous free account holders. SpiderOak employees, family member’s, and close friends of employees are not eligible. The winners will be picked at random from re-tweets and announced via twitter tweets and direct messages to the winners. If a winner does not answer and claim their price within 7 days, another winner will be picked at random.