When you hear about file-sharing sites that focus on music and movies being monitored by the government, the most likely motivation that springs to mind is an anti-piracy campaign. Recent disclosures involving Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE), however, reveals a drive against even more serious criminal activity: counter terrorism.

Although Canada rarely hits the headlines for either piracy or terrorist activity, the country faces similar challenges to the United States and the rest of the developed world. Illicit operations are planned against it and much of that planning occurs online. The juxtaposition of sites intended for entertainment – albeit often illegally accessed entertainment – alongside potential attack planners is jarring, nonetheless, and emphasizes the value of cross-agency cooperation in fighting all kinds of crime.

For those with nothing to hide, of course, the intrusion is . We’ve talked about the problems faced by every file-sharing service before, even those with envied brand recognition like Dropbox, and these latest revelations should remind us all that cloud secrity isn’t garanteed, and the shadier the file-sharing site you use, the more likely it is that your private data will be out there for others to see, be that government agency or hackers with questionable intent.

Kim Dotcom interview

Image via Copyright Alliance/Getty Images

Of the file-sharing sites named in this story, two immediately raise eyebrows for the creative industry: Rapidshare and Megaupload.

The latter is the infamous service that was operated by piracy king Kim Dotcom and was closed down by federal authorities in 2012. Rapidshare is still up and running, but historically has its own intimate connections with copyright infringing material. A new business model introduced around the same time as Megaupload’s take down appears to have cleared its reputation, but such reputations can be tough to shake entirely.

The wider story of online privacy continues to ebb and flow with every news cycle, but the often overlooked angle is how safe users of file-sharing sites and cloud services in general can expect their digital property to be.

Even if everything you store online is squeaky clean, those who attempt to access it often are not. While government intrusion into or personal data is an important topic to address, the one most directly within our control is what we choose to put online and the services we trust to store it.