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Strato unveils Dropbox rival

Strato has launched a cloud-based storage service that exploits Germany's strict privacy laws for added protection.

Cloud computing

German hosting company Strato has launched a new, free cloud storage service that the company claims is attractive to European customers looking to avoid problems with the US Patriot Act.

HiDrive Free, which complements the paid-for service launched at CeBit in 2010, will be hosted at two German datacentres, ensuring that the service conforms to German privacy law one of the world's strictest. In addition, the datacentres conform to the ISO27001 security standard, normally used by banks and insurance companies.

The best thing is, it's free.

The free service, which offers users up to five gigabytes of storage, can be access via a web browser or by smartphone through the HiDrive app, which is available for Android or Windows Phone 7-based devices. The service is not available for iPhone, however, as Apple will not allow it to be offered, according to a company spokeswoman.

"...Users benefit from plenty of storage space to save important documents, holiday pictures, or music collections - in short, everything of value that shouldn't get lost," said Damian Schmidt, Strato's chief executive. "And the best thing is, it's free."

Strato is set to launch Premium versions of HiDrive free shortly. These paid-for services will offer users between 100 to 500 gigabytes of storage space - HiDrive 100 will be priced at 9.90 and HiDrive 500 at 29.90 per month. The company is also set offer a 5TB service in the future, although this has yet to be priced. These premium services differ from the existing paid-for HiDrive services as they're aimed more at consumers rather than small businesses.

Details of the premium services have yet to be finalised so it's not clear what all the differences are but, according to the Strato spokeswoman, one of the differentiators will be that HiDrive Free services will only be available in Euros while the other paid-for services are in a range of currencies.

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