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Cloud computing in Europe hampered by privacy laws

This interesting New York Times piece touches on differences between the U.S. and EU legal systems governing privacy laws and what they imply for cloud computing – infrastructure storing data, files, documents, etc..online to make sharing information more accessible and flexible and cost efficient. You may think of Google Docs, for example, as a popular form of cloud computing. I’ve seen French concern, for example, over privacy issues, as privacy is considered similar to a human right, whereas in the U.S. it’s more of a consumer issue.

I’m personally in favor of efficiency and the exchange of information, though I understand concerns about companies getting too much access to private information for their benefit.

Excerpts:

“…Global sales of cloud services are poised nearly to double by 2012, to $102.1 billion, Gartner estimates. But Europe is expected to remain a relatively modest user of cloud services, accounting for only $18 billion this year, or about 26 percent of the global total. By 2012, Gartner estimates, Europe’s proportion of global cloud sales will rise to 29 percent, even though the bloc’s economy is larger than that of the United States.

Facing legal obstacles in Europe, the U.S. businesses with the greatest stake in cloud computing — primarily Microsoft, Google, H.P. and Oracle — are lobbying lawmakers to loosen restrictions on cross-border data transfers. Alternatively, some are developing new methods to make cloud computing work within Europe’s complicated legal landscape….In Europe, the legal definition of what constitutes personal data is much broader than it is in the United States, extending to information like names, addresses and phone numbers in phone books….”

  1. September 20th, 2010 at 11:51 | #1

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