June 13, 2012, 1:19 PM — European data-sovereignty laws requiring international companies to keep data on customers in the customer's own country are not only causing headaches for database managers, they're holding back adoption of cloud computing in many large companies according to a story in GigaOm yesterday.
Corporate IT managers have been wary of European data-privacy laws since the early 2000s, when requirements designed to limit the degree to which corporations could move or exploit the personal data of customers came into vogue on the Continent.
More recently, fears of U.S. prosecutors subpoenaing private data on European customers in European countries has accelerated the priority of data sovereignty laws as well.
Of course, those fears are completely unfounded. U.S. officials would never assume they had jurisdiction extensive enough to subpoena or arrest foreign nationals on foreign soil on charges a company with no U.S. presence had broken some U.S. infosec law. (The MegaUpload case might blow the curve on that one; the Dept. of Justice indicted MegaUpload executives, had New Zealand police arrest them and impounded or copied all the Hong Kong-based company's data and servers. The premise on which all this was possible? MegaUpload's use of one data center on U.S. soil. )
Cloud fogs issues of privacy, sovereignty and geography
Newly restrictive data-sovereignty and privacy laws may be the work of European governments, but it's the multinationals that are shying away from cloud due to fears of inadvertent violations according to attendees interviewed by insightful GigaOm writer Barb Darrow at the Open Data Center Alliance conference in New York this week.
The ability to say for certain what country a bit of data resides in, make sure it stays within that country and act on it only according to laws that apply in that country is the biggest drawback to companies wanting to move all or part of their own IT infrastructure into the cloud, according to IT and security execs Darrow interviewed at the conference.