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Governmental access to data in the cloud

OFE - Today 23rd May 2012 the OpenForum Academy think tank programme hosted a Round Table on Government Access to Data with European policy makers, as part of an ongoing series of discussions on Cloud related topics. This has proved to be an issue of high debate and controversy, but low on facts. We were pleased to host the event today which looked at the topic from current practice, impact of other legislation including competition law, and the economic impact on the market.

 Hogan Lovells were one of the presenters and released a definitive research study undertaken by them which examined the laws of ten countries, including the US and six from Europe. The Patriot Act is often used as shorthand for belief that the US has specific and stronger rules in this area than other Governments, and that 'safe jurisdictions' are necessary.

 The facts presented indicate that reality is somewhat different. A summary conclusion from the Hogan Lovells report is “...that businesses are misleading themselves and their customers if they contend that restricting Cloud service providers to one jurisdiction better insulates data from government access”.

 The output from the Round Table will be published shortly on the OpenForum Academy website, but since the Hogan Lovells report, which can be downloaded here, has already created much press interest. We believe it provides a useful contribution to making Europe 'cloud friendly and cloud active' without jeopardising the essential global nature of Cloud services.