Putting your Trust in the Clouds: Why Trust Matters to the Open Internet Google

28 September 2011 - A Workshop on Other in Nairobi, Kenya


Cloud Computing is the natural evolution of the continued growth and advancement of the Internet. As such, the issues currently being discussed within the cloud space are not new, and rather, they are a continuation of issues related to the Internet at large. However, business customers, users, governments, and policymakers must gain a “trust” in the security and the free flow of their data across borders, otherwise the cloud--and thus, the Internet--risks being balkanized through restrictions on transnational data flows, requirements for data location in specific countries or regions, and other measures. The workshop will address this problem of trust as it relates to cloud computing.


A brief substantive summary and the main events that were raised:
Cloud computing is not a new concept: it's as old as computing itself, and any two-way interaction with any server on the Internet is a version of cloud computing. Some statistics: 1 out of 10 computers are stolen in the first 12 months of purchase; 60% of thumbdrive data will be lost or compromised; startup companies are turning more and more to notebooks and cloud services rather than spending on in-house IT support. It's important to think of cloud computing as a new way of doing things, something that is done differently than on-premises computing. Example: 70% of Y Combinator startups are using cloud services. Companies realize that trust is important, and that a commitment to security and data protection. Companies are getting better at designing privacy within their systems. Example: Microsoft considered and designed various privacy issues into the Kinect (XBox) product ab initio, it wasn't an afterthought. Data flows through the cloud in the same way that it flows through the Internet --- globally and knows no borders. Data protection laws and data retention requirements are good for consumers but can also create artificial constraints. There is a significant open question about law enforcement and when governments can assert jurisdiction to gain access to data. In developing countries, cost is an important factor. International data costs are dropping, which will help with the adoption of cloud computing in the developing world


Conclusions and further comments:
Audience was generally concerned about government-access issues and the uncertainty of international jurisdiction matters in cloud computing. There seemed to be general consensus that more clarity would be useful in the area of government-access requests, particularly as it applies to the PATRIOT Act and similar laws in other countries. Privacy settings in the cloud context should keep the user in mind, and defaults should retain the maximum control of privacy for the user.


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