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Cloud Computing Regulation: What Will the New Year Bring?

From New Zealand to Ireland to the US, The Trend is Clear...

The government of New Zealand recently reminded companies there that they must keep the original files containing financial information hosted onshore.

Earlier in 2010, the Irish government sent out an obtuse "cloud computing warning" by email to companies, "(advising) that issues such as data protection, confidentiality and security and liability are not necessarily dealt with in a manner that would be necessary for public sector responsibilities."

What new government warnings and regulations regarding Cloud Computing will the new year bring?

As I asked in another article, what about additional government regulation? Will businesses be allowed to store their financials offshore? How about customer data? Several well-publicized examples of customer information from US banks being held hostage by disgruntled outsourcing employees in India set a precedent. Will a similar disaster related to Cloud Computing make governments feel compelled to intervene?

Growth Good, Govt. Not So Much
I'm speaking of the relatively open governments found in North America, Western Europe, and occasionally elsewhere. The last decade has shown there is not necessarily a connection between democracy and economic growth, something the West had long believed. China is the leading example of this new realization, and the country serves, so far, as an exemplar of an interfering government.

Vietnam is similar-one of the fastest-growing places in Southeast Asia despite its Communist government's almost unrivaled reputation for opacity.

Two clear, yet clearly flawed democracies-India and the Philippines-have also seen recent IT-fueld growth despite ongoing, serious concerns about the quality of their governments. The good news is that sub-standard service, rather than government interference, are the main Internet issues.

There are a few dozen other nations growing rapidly, in no small part because of IT, but which are hardly model democracies. For example, recent countries I identified as the world's most dynamic in their IT deployments included several in Northern Africa, among them Tunisia.

Twit or Tweet!
The uproar there has been glibly referred to as a "twitter revolution." It may or may not result in a better government; but it also may indicate that those countries deploying IT most aggressively may also be upsetting the status quo to a degree that was not part of the government's plan.

Other countries on my list include Egypt, Morocco, Bangladesh, Kenya, Honduras, Ukraine, Hungary, Russia, and Iran, all of whom may experience interesting times soon enough.

Returning to stable democracies, Canada has a policy to avoid placing government data on servers in the US, due to concerns that their southern neighbors will snoop under the guise of the Patriot Act.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may have crossed the Rubicon by deciding to regulate the Internet through its recent decision on Net Neutrality. A report on that is coming up...

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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