Who Can Access Your data, And Where Does Your Data Live? Legal Aspects Of Cloud Computing

Who can access your data, and where does your data live? Legal aspects of Cloud computing

Lawmakers are often way behind technologists and engineers, and it is no surprise that there has been little legislation specifically relating to Cloud computing. Often a major lawsuit gets filed before they wake up to the implications of the technology. However, as more companies and consumers are jumping on the Cloud bandwagon, it is time that society paid more attention to the legal aspects of Cloud computing.

Here are two legal issues to think about in relation to Cloud computing:

  1. Access to data. If the data is on the hard drive of your home PC or on an enterprise server, law enforcement agencies can access it only if they obtain a warrant. However, if you are using Cloud service providers, some of them could hand over your data to law enforcement agencies without first serving you a legal warrant. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have been accused of handing over its users’ email content to the Chinese government before, and it should be assumed that they could do likewise with your Cloud data.

In an interview with The Christian Science Monitor, Mark Radcliff, a senior partner at DLA Piper says,

“Law enforcement can subpoena the service, but it depends on their contractual obligation.”

In other words, what they spell out in their terms of service. Always remember this is a contract that you agree to by using the service. So, make sure you read your contract with the Cloud service provider very carefully.

  1. Jurisdiction of data. In the real world, physical boundaries are tied directly to legal jurisdiction. Thus, data stored on servers has to comply with the local “laws of the land”, and these laws vary across the world. Europeans treasure their privacy more than Americans, but many Asian governments are not too shy about arm-twisting service providers to obtain data or block content.

But what about the Cloud? When the Cloud provider provides a geo-redundancy option and stores data in multiple locations throughout the world, you have to be sure that your data and applications comply with all the laws that apply to those locations. This requires you to know the locations of the servers on which your data is stored and to raise the issue with the Cloud service provider regarding the specific regulations that apply in those locations.

If you are a small business owner or a consumer, you might not have thought much about the legal implications of the Cloud when you are storing your files on SkyDrive or Dropbox. Now, it is time you got a good legal counsel to look into these aspects.

By Balaji Viswanathan

About Balaji

Balaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and tech strategy. He has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Maryland and has been blogging for the past 7 years on technology and business related topics.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

On Demand With The Gig Economy

On Demand With The Gig Economy

The Gig Economy By now, you’ve probably heard the phrase Gig Economy or seen services offered as “on-demand”. If you’re like 90 million Americans, then you’ve participated in this freelance workforce revolution as either a client or provider. The rise of apps connecting professional services, goods, and lodging directly to consumers via their smartphone is…

5 Cloud-Based Customer Service Trends

5 Cloud-Based Customer Service Trends

Customer Service Trends Customer service has become the new battleground in today’s marketplace. In fact, 97 percent of customers around the world now say that customer service makes a key difference in whether they decide to go with a brand or not, Microsoft reports. Many of the biggest changes in today’s customer service landscape center…

Conquering Disease with Artificial Intelligence and IBM Watson

Conquering Disease with Artificial Intelligence and IBM Watson

Artificial Intelligence and IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is growing increasingly pervasive in today’s modern world. Perhaps the most publicized and recognizable application of AI to date, IBM’s Jeopardy-winning computer, Watson, is now being used to help cure cancer. IBM announced the development of Watson for Genomics on Wednesday at the National Cancer Moonshot…

The Fundamentals of Predictive Analysis

The Fundamentals of Predictive Analysis

Predictive Analysis  Article sponsored by SAS Software and Big Data Forum Analytics is playing an increasingly important role in our lives thanks in large part to internet of things (IoT) developments and a greater appreciation of Big Data. With solutions that range across business productivity, health care, individual and national security, new insights are regularly…

Clouding Around With The Unicorns

Clouding Around With The Unicorns

The Social Unicorn Early investors and technology consumers alike love the poignantly named “Unicorn” companies, or private startups that reach the $1 billion valuation. The most recent unicorn spotting is social media game-changer Snapchat, which was recently valued at $16 billion. According to a recent infographic from Alexa discovered via Adweek, Snapchat also proves to…

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing Education

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing Education

Cloud Computing Education The benefits of cloud computing are being recognized in businesses and institutions across the board, with almost 90 percent of organizations currently using some kind of cloud-based application. The immediate benefits of cloud computing are obvious: cloud-based applications reduce infrastructure and IT costs, increase accessibility, enable collaboration, and allow organizations more flexibility…

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Successful digital marketing campaigns are being driven largely by trending technologies, specifically the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and The Cloud. These may be used for a huge number of marketing applications, from optimizing the performance of sports teams to improving science and research, even helping to aid law enforcement. Amazon Web…

New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware A new report published this morning by Menlo Security has alarmingly suggested that at least a third of the top 1,000,000 websites in the world are at risk of being infected by malware. While it’s worth prefacing the findings with the fact Menlo used Alexa to…

Who’s Who In The Booming World Of Data Science

Who’s Who In The Booming World Of Data Science

The World of Data Science The nature of work and business in today’s super-connected world means that every second of every day, the world produces an astonishing amount of data. Consider some of these statistics; every minute, Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content, YouTube users upload over 72 hours of content, Apple…

Cloud Computing – The Game Changer

Cloud Computing – The Game Changer

Global Cloud Index In October, Cisco released its Global Cloud Index (GCI) report for 2014-2019, projecting a near 3-fold growth of global data center traffic, with predictions that this traffic will reach 8.6 zettabytes (cloud data center traffic) and 10.4 zettabytes (total data center traffic) per year in 2019 and 80% of it will come…

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC.…

Cloud Infographic – The Data Scientist

Cloud Infographic – The Data Scientist

Data Scientist Report The amount of data in our world has been exploding in recent years. Managing big data has become an integral part of many businesses, generating billions of dollars of competitive innovations, productivity and job growth. Forecasting where the big data industry is going has become vital to corporate strategy. Enter the Data…