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Enterprise IT, Featured, News - Written by Navina Anand, Chillibreeze on Friday, April 13, 2012 11:30 - 52 Comments
US slams Australia’s on-shore cloud fixation
news The United States’ global trade representative has strongly criticised a perceived preference on the part of large Australian organisations for hosting their data on-shore in Australia, claiming it created a significant trade barrier for US technology firms and was based on a misinterpretation of the US Patriot Act.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), recently released “The 2012 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE),” that surveys significant foreign barriers to US exports. The issue of cloud computing was a major barrier, it was felt.
A number of US companies had expressed concerns that various departments in the Australian Government, namely, the Department of Defence, The National Archives of Australia, the Department of Finance and Deregulation, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) and the State of Victoria’s Privacy Commissioner had been sending negative messages about cloud providers based outside the country, implying that “hosting data overseas, including in the United States, by definition entails greater risk and unduly exposes consumers to their data being scrutinised by foreign governments”.
The cloud issue is not a new one. In August 2011, the global head of CSC’s cloud business, Siki Giunta who was present in Australia to launch BizCloud commented that she felt that there was a lack of collaboration between the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) industry and the Government in Australia. However, Glenn Archer, First Assistant Secretary at AGIMO, said the AGIMO had, in fact, been working very closely with industry for many months through the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) Cloud Task Force.
Recently, Acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner Anthony Bendall highlighted some of the privacy concerns with cloud computing, particularly in its use by the local government. He said the main problems were the lack of control over stored data and privacy, in overseas cloud service providers. He felt that data security; accountability for data breach; and differing privacy laws were concerns that needed to be addressed, when considering storing information and data, especially relating to the government, in a cloud.
On the issue of privacy concerns, the report stated that there seemed to be a misinterpretation of the applicable US law including the US Patriot Act and regulatory requirements. In November last year, draft legislation had been introduced in Parliament, banning the overseas storing of Australian electronic health records. The report claimed this to be a significant trade barrier for US information technology companies with data centres in the US and other countries. US industry sources have appealed asking for a risk-based approach to ensure the security of sensitive data as against a geographical one.
In the telecom section, the report stated that the structure of the National Broadband Network Company, NBN Co, (responsible for implementing wholesale broadband services in Australia) could enhance non-discriminatory access to network services for overseas companies including US companies, as the NBN would not compete in retail markets. The United States expressed concern that foreign equity limits in Telstra, were still capped at 35 percent, and the individual foreign investors could own only up to 5 per cent of the company. The report stated that the US Government would monitor the development of the NBN to ensure that competitors obtained fair access to services and customers.
This is pretty much what you’d expect from the US Government — it’s looking out for its own interests and trying to push Australia to conform with it. However, I don’t view the US Trade Representative’s views as legitimate, when examined from an Australian perspective. US cloud computing companies such as Salesforce.com, Rackspace, Amazon and Google have committed very little infrastructure to the Australian market, and analysis after analysis has warned of the data security dangers of storing sensitive data in jurisdictions covered by US legislation, which can, at times, allow the US Government unprecedented access to private data.
I would hope that Australia’s large organisations, and our governments, ignore this criticism from the US. Cloud computing companies are completely free to build infrastructure in Australia, and it’s not a trade barrier when some organisations simply don’t want to buy your products because of some portions of your government’s legislation. In fact, it’s probably true that Australian companies view the Patriot Act as a trade barrier to dealing with US companies. Perhaps Australia’s own trade representative should lobby to have it repealed? ;)
Latest Delimiter 2.0 articles (subscriber content)
|Politicians from Australia’s major parties need to stop issuing ludicrous blanket pardons for the intelligence community’s ongoing misdemeanours and start applying a basic modicum of transparency and accountability to this important national security function.|
|The independent pro-fibre National Broadband Network movement is doing a far better job of promoting Labor’s Fibre to the Premises-based NBN policy than Labor itself. When is Labor going to wake from its slumber and start supporting this scrappy but energetic grassroots network of activists?|
|Ziggy Switkowski's first substantial public appearance since being appointed NBN Co chief executive has starkly demonstrated just how different he is from his predecessor, Mike Quigley, and just how strictly he will adhere to the guidelines which his patron, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has set for him.|
|Australian technology companies have been virtually absent from the the nation’s public stockmarket over the past decade as the stigma of the dot com bust took its toll on investor confidence. But a clutch of new listings planned for the closing months of 2013 shows renewed interest in the sector and that local entrepreneurs are smelling money in the air once again.|
|NBN Co’s Strategic Review process gives the company an unmissable opportunity to re-evaluate the early decision to deploy its FTTP network primarily through Telstra’s underground ducts. The company and its new Coalition masters must now seriously consider deploying more fibre aerially on power poles in an effort to speed up its rollout substantially.|
|That moment which many Australian technologists fervently hoped for but never expected to see has come to pass: Simon Hackett has been appointed to the board of the National Broadband Network Company. But what questions should the Internode founder be asking NBN Co’s executive management team? Here’s five ideas to start with.|
|The rapid replacement of respected NBN Co chief operating officer Ralph Steffens with a Telstra executive who appears less experienced with fibre rollouts but better politically connected represents a key signal that NBN Co’s senior executive hiring process has now become completely politicised and is no longer independent from the Federal Government.|
Enterprise IT, News - Dec 6, 2013 12:50 - 0 Comments
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News, Telecommunications - Dec 6, 2013 11:54 - 16 Comments
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Digital Rights, News - Dec 5, 2013 14:08 - 19 Comments
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