I just purchased a private cloud on an Indiegogo campaign, called the Cloudlocker. It's a private cloud that I can keep at home on my network, but it's only accessible thru a browser or desktop/mobile app. I have physical control over it, so the Feds still need a warrant to see what's inside.
So far, I'm a big fan. I don't need email attachments anymore. I just send links to files in the Cloudlocker. Plus, I can set permission to view-oinly, so people can look, but not touch the files themselves. A big plus is streaming playlists. I can make a playlist of music and send it to anyone who can play 100 songs on a phone or tablet & since they stream from the Cloudlocker, they take up no space on their phone. Same with movies.
Another thing. Dropbox etc creates backups of efverything I used to upload. Nice, but they never come down. Even if I delete the file & close the account, Dropbox still has the file they can give to NSA or IRS or... We lose the power to be forgotten with public clouds.
My final thing. I've stopped feeding my Facebook. When I post pix, I use links, not the files, so Mark Z only owns the links, not my files. I kinda like that.
I remember many years ago, in a company that I worked for, that they had a reciprocal arrangement with another company. It was all part of a larger dissaster recovery plan. Each company had a machine, disks and other storage areas for offsiting the other companies data. In the event of dissaster, there were also plans as to how each company would provide space and other resources to enable them to continue vital operations while more long term solutions were put in place.
Yeah, I don't really see the advantage for an individual, it isn't cost effective. At least not for space hungry things like pictures. Tax info? maybe.
For businesses however, having a remote backup that is accessible from anywhere has some very obvious advantages. Many companies follow a multiple apparoach that involves a remote backup as well as a local. You can't be too safe!
Where I live, tornados are not uncommon. Having your important databases uploaded to a remote backup facility 85 feet underground is a no-brainer. However, it might be financially smarter to rent rack space as opposed to using a "cloud backup service".
I share all of your concerns and wholeheartedly agree that for me, giving those dollars every month for pennies worth of storage doesn't make sense. With terabyte hard drives as cheap as they are these days, the case for renting space on a remote hard drive would need to be much more compelling than it is today before it would pique my interest.
We could extend this to the next level of the cloud -- cloud computing -- and the issues are much the same. CPUs, motherboards & DRAM are cheap enough that it makes no sense for most individuals to rent them from a remote provider just to run software that can be run locally. For small businesses that need access to lots of parallel computing power, the case can be made for cloud computing. I'm thinking of a hardware startup that would need short-term access to a large compute farm to support design & verification of an SoC. For them, rent vs. buy probably favors renting.
But for most individuals, the cost of bandwidth still outweights the cost of computing power & the cost of storage. Will that balance tip the other way someday? I don't see it happening any time soon.