The Star Tribune from Minneapolis-St. Paul carried an article, few days back, on the issues related to keeping the data on the clouds. The author clearly identifies the issues we face in the society as we move further into the adoption of cloud computing technologies
The danger is less that the cloud will be a Wild West than that it will be peopled by too many sheriffs scrapping over the rules. Some enforcers are already stirring up trouble, threatening employees of online companies in one jurisdiction to get their employers based in another to fork over incriminating
data, for instance.
Several governments have passed new laws forcing online firms to retain more data. At some point, cloud providers may find themselves compelled to build data centers in every country where they do business.
The author also identifies the consequences of it
Yet at the same time, the more the cloud is seeded with regulation, the more its costs will grow. That would be a loss. The cloud’s main promise is to make computing cheaper using huge economies of scale. Such savings promise to help countless smaller firms in developing countries, say, to benefit from information technology and the productivity gains it creates.
The author, then, points out the solution to these problems
Countries could sign onto a global minimum standard in areas such as privacy. Law-enforcement agencies from different countries could foster the habit of cooperation.
In my previous post about the Questions To Ask Before Trusting A Cloud Vendor, I have highlighted something similar
Courts are still not sure of how they treat data in the cloud vis a vis data on the personal desktops. Customers should prod the cloud vendors into taking initiatives to change the existing laws and to offer better protection for the data in the cloud.
I thought I will expand on the topic a bit more and highlight the responsibility of the cloud vendors in solving these issues. Our world is very diverse and we have different laws, moral and ethical values, etc.. The ideas of ownership, privacy, security, etc. also differ from one country to another. Some countries are democratic and many others are not. But globalization is real. People and businesses from different countries work together or do business together in this globalized economy.
The success of Cloud Computing depends on the success of this global economy. To achieve success, we need to rethink some of the old fashioned laws and ensure the universal adaptability of these changes. We cannot have one part of the cloud in one country with certain laws about the ownership & privacy of data and the other part in another country with another set of laws contradicting the first one.
However, geographical redundancy is one of the pillars of cloud computing. Under such a scenario, we need to think about having universal definitions of some of the cloud related terms like ownership of data, privacy of data, etc.. It is also
important to have a global consensus on these definitions. All the governments of the world, probably inside the umbrella of an organization like UN, should sit together and evolve new sets of laws to streamline stuff like data ownership, data privacy, data security, etc..
No government is going to take the initiatives on such issues and it is very important for the Cloud Vendors to lobby their governments to talk to other governments at a global level and evolve consensus on these issues. Unless it is done, we cannot have a true Cloud Computing ecosystem. It is the responsibility of the cloud vendors to take the necessary actions for evolving global standards on the important issues related to Cloud Computing.