Business Software Alliance warns of governments interfering with the cloud
February 15, 2012 —
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Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the Business Software Alliance, cautioned cloud providers and users against a future where their services could be divided along international boundaries. Speaking at the Cloud Connect conference in Santa Clara this morning, he said that “Legislators just can’t help themselves,” and he warned of a future where governments disrupt cloud usage with legal hurdles.
Holleyman used his keynote address at the show to preview a report that will be released by the BSA next week. He said the report examined the cloud policies of countries around the world, and it found that even first-world nations are capable of hampering innovation with poorly written laws.
“It would be like having a series of walls and fences around the world,” said Holleyman. “The real world is a patchwork, with countries like Japan and Australia having good policies for the cloud. They have good policies around security, privacy, cybercrime and trade. Other countries, like Brazil and China, have a lot of catching up to do.
“You see a sharp divide between the advanced economies and the developing world. But what is surprising is what you see when you look at countries that are doing well. There are efforts by countries to wall themselves in with conflicting laws and regulations.”
Holleyman specifically pointed out the European Union. “The U.K., Germany, France; they are logical markets for U.S.-based cloud firms. All the EU countries are off to a good start, but lawmakers in the EU are putting their thumb on the scales. They're doing things with regulations to keep non-European cloud firms waiting at the border, while their companies ramp up.”
He went on to urge attendees and software firms to become more involved in the legislative processes of the countries in which they work. He also stated that standards could help to solve these problems as well.
“How do we create a level playing field for the cloud era?” said Holleyman. “No. 1 is we need more consistent privacy and security models. Second, governments buy a lot of technology, and we need governments to throw their weight around in a constructive way. They can shape a marketplace. We need to promote innovation in the cloud the same way we protect it everywhere else. That means protecting your rights and stopping new forms of cybercrime and theft. If you're not at the table, you're on the menu. If we don't make ourselves heard, the cloud will get stuck in the proverbial long line at customs.”