Attorneys Christopher Wolf and Winston Maxwell debunk common assumptions about ‘local clouds’, the Patriot Act, and (many) governments’ access to data
No one is more vigilant about protecting the data of EU citizens than European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding. She is spearheading and vigorously advocating for the Commission’s proposals to update and modernize the privacy framework in Europe through a detailed new Regulation. She worries a lot about the privacy and security of EU citizens’ data. And she can be a tough critic of the US privacy protection framework.
But even Commissioner Reding had to cry foul late last year when she saw the advertising of an EU Cloud Computing service suggesting that its geographic location would protect data from the reaches of the USA Patriot Act. That episode prompted Mrs. Reding to issue a reminder about the importance of the free flow of data between the continents. Her comments reflected an understanding that Europeans need access to the best Cloud services regardless of geography and that to enjoy the full benefits of Cloud computing, there cannot be a balkanized system of Clouds around the world where as one commentator put it, "the fuzzy Internet cloud becomes a series of neatly divided gas bubbles."
Mrs. Reding no doubt was aware when she objected to the notion of an "EU Cloud" that even European countries with strict privacy laws also have anti-terrorism laws that allow expedited government access to Cloud data. Indeed, France’s anti-terrorism law has been said to make the Patriot Act look "namby-pamby" by comparison.
Authored by HL Chronicle of Data Protection Team.