Feeds

Lib Dems: Gov must look at security of public data cloud

Keeping stuff outside UK could erode citizens' rights

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The Liberal Democrat party has said that the government should investigate the potential for abuse of data owners' rights if private companies hosted public data outside the UK. The junior Coalition partner raised the issue in in its Policies for Information Technology paper.

"Cloud computing is an area where, if [it is] left unchecked, there is serious potential for abuse – for example, large corporations taking control of enormous quantities of public or private data outside the reach of national law," the paper (21-page/131KB PDF) said.

"Cloud is only attractive if it embodies the principles on privacy and data ownership, access, project management and procurement that we have set out elsewhere in this paper. We recommend that as a matter of urgency, the Government consider the security issues involved with cloud computing, particularly regarding data location and segregation," it said.

Cloud computing refers to the storage of files and programs on an internet-based network rather than on local computing resources. It allows internet users to access or store information without owning the software required to do so and many online companies, such as Google, operate huge servers that store the data and deliver it to users.

The Lib Dems said that the UK should work with other governments and international bodies to help establish a watchdog regime for cloud services. The party said it believed industry bodies were best placed to regulate content on the internet. It suggested that, where the organisations are not dealing with illegal material, their "processes" should be transparent and their operations overseen by the UK's communications regulator, Ofcom.

Earlier this year the European Commission held a consultation looking into the issue of cloud computing. The Commission appeared to be considering measures to help standardise terms and conditions for using cloud services. The consultation asked it if it would be "useful" to establish "model Service Level Agreements or End User Agreements" within contractual agreements for cloud services.

The consultation, which closed at the end of August, asked respondents to specify updates the Commission could apply to the EU Data Protection Directive "that could further facilitate cloud computing while preserving the level of protection". A Commission spokesperson told Out-Law.com earlier this week that new proposals for EU data protection laws would be announced within the next six months.

The Commission is expected to announce a European cloud computing strategy next year and aims to "clarify the legal conditions for the take-up of cloud computing in Europe, stimulate the development of a competitive European cloud industry and market, and facilitate the roll-out of innovative cloud computing services for citizens and businesses," it said in a statement in May.

Cloud computing providers often detail the jurisdiction in which data is held in contract terms, but a judge in the High Court last year ruled that a company is responsible for "making available" internet-hosted material in the country where its host server is based, not in the country where the material is read or used.

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype
Box-hugger is not a dirty word, Minister. Box-huggers make the cloud WORK
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.