The E.U.'s cynical campaign against U.S. cloud providers

European badmouthing of American providers has more to do with bolstering E.U. cloud firms than protecting data privacy

The U.S. government continues its attempts to quell controversy about U.S. jurisdiction over cloud data that U.S. companies store overseas. This "can be traced at least in part to early efforts at a sort of digital protectionism in the form of [E.U. member] state efforts to promote European cloud companies over their U.S.-based competitors. And European firms are all too happy to call attention to the potential insecurities of data stored with American providers stemming from U.S. laws," according to a article.

The real issue here is that U.S.-based cloud companies, such as, Microsoft, and Google, are taking off as the cloud becomes more real each day. As such, businesses in the E.U. are placing data in those clouds as cloud data centers begin to pop up overseas. So, with U.S. companies on the rise in their own backyard, is it time for the E.U. to talk about how bad these U.S.-based cloud companies will be for data privacy as a way to create space for European cloud companies?

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It's a fact that E.U. governments do spend more time addressing data privacy issues than the U.S. government, and they have written laws to enforce privacy. Indeed, in many cases, this means that you can't ship (replicate) some data out of an E.U. country. However, U.S. cloud companies have adjusted to that law by partitioning E.U. data and keep it in E.U. data centers, and so they continue to grow their market share in the E.U. regions.

Make no mistake. This is more about control than privacy or security. The cloud is exploding, and the E.U. sees data and money flowing out of its countries. The E.U. is using FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) to contain the bleeding. While the E.U. does have some valid points, for the most part, the reality is that the data from E.U. companies kept by U.S. cloud provider data centers, whether here or there, will be safe and private. Practically speaking, it won't be handed over to the U.S. government at the whim of somebody at the Justice Department.

There are issues in using cloud computing, including privacy, security, and management. However, prospective buyers need to deal with the facts of their providers, no matter where they are based, and not be hobbled by governments spinning FUD and/or cranking out unneeded regulations. That never helps.

This article, "The E.U.'s cynical campaign against U.S. cloud providers," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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