Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Anne S.Y. Cheung and Rolf H. Weber
Chapter 3: Legal safeguards for cloud computing
Cloud computing technology is subject to a manifold number of legally prescribed and voluntary safeguards and boundaries. These include legislation which ensures the protection of an individual’s personal data, a competition law framework maintaining an open and accessible cloud market and the concept of ‘net neutrality’. Although aimed at improving the rights of customers, such legislation is in practice ill-tailored to the needs of cloud computing providers and, thus, poses significant challenges in its daily application. The following chapter addresses the applicable legal safeguards for cloud computing and highlights potential measures that cloud providers can implement to ensure compliance. In practice, access and portability of data are of central importance. Three possible scenarios can be envisaged in regard to an individual’s access to data stored in the cloud and the available technical framework for a transfer into another cloud system. Under the first scenario, the cloud market is broken down into various actors with their own individual systems based on self-developed proprietary technologies. In a second scenario, a few cloud providers dominate the market, but allow for data to be transferred between the varying systems. Ideally, the third approach with a universal data standard, open interfaces and open source software should be sought, as it provides the highest efficiency gains by making use of a global cloud. Thus, ensuring open systems through enhanced data portability will be one of the main future challenges facing regulators worldwide.
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