Cloud legislation

Jeremy Foster from Ericsson says that countries must work together to build workable laws around cloud that will not negatively impact enterprises

Tags: Cloud computingEricsson
  • E-Mail
Cloud legislation Jeremy Foster from Ericsson says that the traditional idea of geography, where each country has its own laws has become somewhat blurry.
By  Jeremy Foster Published  February 2, 2013

Jeremy Foster from Ericsson says that countries must work together to build workable laws around cloud that will not negatively impact enterprises.

One of the biggest issues around cloud is not technology related, it is the laws and regulation around cloud, both in the region and internationally, according to Jeremy Foster, head of Marketing and Government and Industry Relations, Middle East and Africa at Ericsson.

An example of this legislative nightmare is a recent case faced by Swift, a company with offices all over the globe.

“The George Bush administration implemented the Patriot Act after 9/11, this act allowed the US government to subpoena Swift’s money transactions. Because SWIFT uses a cloud service, the subpoena broke laws in Brussels, which then forced them to go to court in Brussels. If you get subpoenaed you have to provide the information or you break the law, but if you provide the information, you break the law,” said Foster.

This example shows how legislation in different countries clashes, causing severe headaches for global businesses utilising cloud. The traditional idea of geography, where each country has its own laws has become somewhat blurred. Foster uses the metaphor of the setting up of embassies to describe the current cloud situation.

“Imagine there was a time before embassies and as the heads of two countries we would have a chat and say ‘I will put my embassy in your country and inside this ring-fence the laws would be my law’. Eventually we agree and then I step out the door and am speeding, but back at home I can do 160km per hour because I am from Germany, so the guy says ‘Ok I will give you a diplomatic plate’, and they start to overcome the challenges, I honestly think that cloud computing and where it is going to head,” said Foster.

The physical cloud infrastructure could be anywhere in the world, but the US has laws to access that information in the cloud and their pull reaches all the way into any organisation because there is no cloud legislation.

“The good news is that we have compelling drivers, in that energy will become more expensive, licenses will continue to drive economic performance and will force us to look at cloud legislation more closely,” said Foster.

Currently the world is working on improving the level of collaboration when it comes to cloud legislation.

“I think the intent is there, it is just so fundamentally different from the concept that geography demarks where a country’s laws apply. Even in the old networks I held one end of the cable, you held the other and we created interconnect agreements. But with the cloud, my information gets processed in your back garden and then comes over here now we are both somehow involved. I think the real risk for government is if they don’t have a clear cloud agenda they will wake up and find themselves irrelevant,” said Foster.

Ericsson is currently discussing legislation and collaboration with governments across the region, and according to Foster, they are very open to the discussion, but legislation was created decades ago and it takes a long time to change laws.

“I don’t think there is any country in the world today that really has a stable model to deal with the cloud. SWIFT did not break any laws, they are providing a legal service that is valid to millions of transactions every day, so they should not find the cost, embarrassment or pain of breaking the law,” said Foster.

The level of non-traditional collaboration between government entities will dramatically grow as they begin to realise actions in one country will have serious implications in another country.

“The world will find a way and it is a good time to be in the ICT industry providing the building blocks,” Foster said.

549 days ago
Meera Kaul

US Legislation under the Patriot Act or MLATs only applies if there is a direct relationship between the entities and the jurisdiction of the United States Courts or a treaty in place. In certain cases, long arm jurisdiction in personam can be applied if a defendant has some minimum contacts with a US jursidiction. Cloud legislation is a very tricky subject especially when even OECD has not been able to lay out standards to administer the business model cross jurisdiction. OECD is however working to lay out standards.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code