Last week I was in Davos at the World Economic Forum. A chance to speak with many interesting people and gain a lot of real insight about trends in the wider world.
But a principal reason for being there was to announce an exciting new initiative on cloud computing – the European Cloud Partnership. An important step forward to making the EU not just cloud friendly, but cloud-active. Here’s my announcement in detail:
In particular the European Cloud Partnership focuses on the role of the public sector. The cloud can have many uses for this sector – from healthcare to the home, to tools for teachers, to a platform for the wealth of open public data. So this partnership will help the cloud work for the public sector—and help the public sector work for the cloud. Because by using the leverage of this 20% of the market, we can provide reassurance on issues like trust, interoperability, and legal liability—and thereby use it as a showcase for the other 80%.
And being in Davos meant we were able to have a very interesting and informed discussion on the cloud more generally – issues like the balance between security and efficiency. And like how to give firms the right incentives to invest in security and trust – whether it’s through security breach notification requirements, insurance products, contractual liability rules or simply the need to preserve hard-won brand reputation. I was also reminded of the many benefits the cloud can offer in unexpected areas: for example, how distributing your data can help build resilience in disaster response (a lesson from post-Fukushima Japan).
This is not the only thing we’ve announced recently relating to the cloud. As I trailed back in January, the Commission has a new proposal on data protection – a proposal which offers many benefits for the cloud. Notably it will:
- put people in control of their personal data, able to correct or delete it, or get access to it in an easily-usable, transferable format;
- make it easier to operate a cloud across the EU, with a single point of contact; and
- make it easier to operate outside the EU, too, with simplified and more consistent rules.
All the time we need to keep a sense of proportion, and so, where possible, we have lessened the burdens on data controllers. All in all, making it easier to protect fundamental rights and build trust in the cloud age.
Plus I’ve also stressed the role the cloud could play for copyrighted material – and in ensuring the models used within the cloud provide reward and recognition for artists. I want to look at the barriers to flourishing content businesses within the cloud – both for providers and right-holders.
The cloud has the capacity to make lives easier for many of us, including the smallest of businesses. But to achieve that requires us to take many different policy areas and really test them to make sure they are as cloud-compatible as they can be. So these elements, and more besides, will all be appearing in our comprehensive cloud strategy – due out before the summer.