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All of Europe's data in US servers? We're OK with that - EC bod

'It shouldn't matter where your files are held'

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CCWF2012 A European Commission director has said that it shouldn’t really matter where Europe’s data is stored, as long as it’s secure and protected.

Megan Richards, acting deputy director general of Information Society and Media and also part of the Converged Networks and Services directorate, said it wouldn't necessarily be a problem if European data was held in data centres in the US.

“Theoretically, it shouldn’t matter where data is held as long as our rules apply,” Richards told The Reg at the Cloud Computing World Forum in London. “The legislation in the US is not so different from the legislation we have in the EU.”

Richards was talking about the new data protection legislation currently making its way through the European Parliament, which she is hoping to see implemented in the next two-and-a-half years.

“It usually takes a year to go through Parliament, usually,” she emphasised, “Then, after adoption, it’s supposed to come in in two years.”

The new data protection legislation is important to the European Cloud Computing Strategy because it will mean that all member states have the same rules instead of the current situation, where each country has adapted the less-binding directive in their own way.

“The advantage of legislation is that it applies to everyone,” Richards said.

The cloud strategy is another thing that's expected to be adopted soon; at the moment it’s still being discussed at various levels, according to Richards. But she said that cloud was very important to Europe, especially in the current economic crisis.

“We really need to drive growth and jobs in the future,” she said. “One of the pillars of the EU 2020 strategy is the digital agenda, which has many actions to push growth forward in Europe, and we think cloud has great potential.”

Richards reckons cloud computing has the potential to deliver €700bn (£564bn) of economic benefit in the five biggest European economies and generate five million new jobs in the five largest member states.

But getting the cloud moving in Europe requires better broadband rollout, more standardised legislation and less fragmentation in markets, she said.

“That’s what cloud providers need,” Richards added. ®

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