Thursday, 27 January 2011

Viviane Reding on cloud computing and data protection


“Cloud computing conjures up images of floating zeroes and ones – data liberated from the desktop and drifting effortlessly from one server to the next.”

While this poetic line from Viviane Reding’s speech for tomorrow’s data protection day already makes a post on this blog worthwile, you may well be asking yourself what this ‘cloud computing’ is all about and what on earth it has to do with consumer law.

First of all: what is ‘cloud computing’? Cloud computing concerns online software which can be used by consumers and businesses without them having to install the software on their computers. Think of online data storage, but also of online network software such as LinkedIn or Facebook.

These programs are of great value to consumers and businesses, but also bring along risks concerning data protection (privacy as well as the risk of loss of data). The EU Data Protection Directive is running old (15 years) and so the Commission is announcing improvements in order to safeguard the consumer’s confidence in cloud computing services. Or, in the words of Reding: ‘A cloud without robust data protection is not the sort of cloud we need.’

For more beautiful poetry (as well as information on Reding’s proposals on cloud computing), click here and here.

Happy data protection day tomorrow!

[Picture: David Kleinert Photography]

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