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A growing number of online services, such as Google, Yahoo!, and Amazon, are starting to charge users for their storage. Customers often use these services to store valuable data such as email, family photos and videos, and disk backups. To make storage services accountable for data loss, this paper presents protocols that allow a third-party auditor to periodically verify the data stored by a service and assist in returning the data intact to the customer. The solution removes the burden of verification from the customer, alleviates both the customer's and storage service's fear of data leakage, and provides a method for independent arbitration of data retention contracts.
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