Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Anne S.Y. Cheung and Rolf H. Weber
Chapter 6: Cloud and jurisdiction: mind the borders
Broadly speaking, the cloud is ‘everything as a service’ (XaaS), provided through a communications link, including software as a service (SaaS), the platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It causes ‘a change in perspective from seeing the computer as a box to seeing the computer as a door’ that opens onto a transnational environment of people and devices interconnected by the Internet. Some authors consider that ‘Cloud Computing is a natural evolution of the Internet’. Others judge that cloud computing equates to ‘Internet Computing’, and they conclude that ‘[i]t is also the beginning of a new Internet based service economy: the Internet centric, Web based, on demand, Cloud applications and computing economy’. The Internet enables the cloud’s internationality: this internationality causes a need for jurisdictional issues to be discussed. These issues already existed at the advent of the mainstream use of the Internet, and are now exacerbated in the cloud. The latter seems beyond territories and beyond the jurisdiction of authorities’ territories and authorities (the United States, the European Union (EU) and regions such as Hong Kong, and so on). Section II of this chapter recalls the notion of jurisdiction and underlines the ability of various authorities to easily assert jurisdiction over the cloud. Section III focuses on how the EU and Belgian private international law (private IL) solves conflicts of jurisdiction.
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