Gizmodo / Chen computer seizure - another reason for offsite backup
California police obtained a warrant and seized computer equipment from the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen. Gizmodo is fighting back, saying that the seizure violates journalist shield laws. This is part of an investigation into Gizmodo allegedly paying someone to give them a misplaced Apple iPhone prototype. They took a long list of equipment, including laptops, a server, cameras, phones, hard drives, and flash drives. Setting aside for a moment the issues of whether the seizure was lawful or appropriate, or whether Gizmodo's actions merit a criminal investigation - think about how such a seizure would impact you in terms of a temporary or perhaps permanent loss of all your data.
Yes, the risk of getting one's computers seized is so slim its not worth worrying about. It does illustrate though other risks that can arise from keeping backups only in the same building as the original. Its great for protecting against equipment failure - but it won't protect against things like a flood, fire, or natural disaster. (I have no idea what backup Chen has - I'm just making a point here.)
So the prudent approach - no matter what local backup you have - is to keep an offsite backup. That can be online, or on a drive kept elsewhere - the method isn't important so long as it is reasonably up to date, reliable, and secure.