A European cloud

Dominique Deckmyn writes De Technocraat in De Standaard. In Tuesday’s column, he talks about the fact that in Europe we have much more stronger laws for privacy. This is widely known of course. In the US however, a slight majority cares more about “their” security than privacy. Commissioner Neelie Kroes sees Prism as a chance for Europe to build a privacy based company as this can provide Europe with a competitive advantage. Deckmyn then goes further, extrapolates this and advocates for a European cloud. He says that the initial idea behind the cloud was that it doesn’t matter where servers are located. “If we learnt one thing over the past few weeks, is that the Internet without borders is a mythe”. He says it does make a big difference if your mail provider is based in Europe or the United States. This is basically arguing that borders are still very much prevalent. This is very much in contradiction with my view that technology is allowing us to drive change. I still believe in that and keep waiting for that great, big and beautiful tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “A European cloud”

  1. Internet without borders is unfortunately not a reality right now. There is no strong international or even European legal framework that allows to reap the full benefits of cloud computing. As such it is always a battle between national laws and regulations, which causes a lot of uncertainty and hinders cloud adoption. I think the European cloud would be a fantastic idea and it would allow a much greater uptake because it would enjoy a higher level of trust than conventional cloud suppliers. However, a prerequisite for having this is a strong legal foundation and clear regulations on data security, data privacy and SLA models.

    I am waiting for the big and beautiful day as well, but I am at least pleased to see that the EU is doing a lot of activity on ICT and cloud computing. They are trying to redefine the directives on data privacy, investigating ways to enhance data security and looking into (co-)developing (international) certificates that would guarantee a high level of quality on above points. We live in interesting times to see this being built 🙂

  2. Hi Philip,

    Thanks for your comment.

    When I mean Internet without borders, I am hinting at the essence of the World Wide Web: small pieces loosely joined as Berners Lee calls it. Think about standards such as data portability, Creative Commons and Linked Data. These big principles, practices, standards, rules and regulations are known and applied across borders. The Occupy movement is another big example of the economic freedom that we experience thanks to the Internet. Labourers are able to organize themselves through world wide unions. And so on. That’s truly amazing! People are becoming more empowered to drive change and whistleblowers like Snowden and their actions are the ultimate proof of that.
    To a certain extent of course you are right and I am talking about an “ideal” whereas you and Deckmyn are of course thinking in another dimension. Still, I am an opponent of such a European cloud as I think this will only give way to actual borders on the Internet. Like the Chinese wall. Internet is universal and not about nations, institutions or corporations in my sincere opinion.

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