blog Those of you who pay attention to such things will remember that the United States Government doesn’t appear that happy that many major Australian organisations prefer to host their data in Australian datacentres, instead of in the plethora of such facilities located in the US. Well, now the US rhetoric on the issue has escalated further, with an opinion piece published this week by the US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich. In the piece, published by the Sydney Morning Herald (we recommend you click here for the full article), Bleich writes:
“Like people who once thought keeping their money hidden under the mattress was better than having it in a bank, some voices across the region, and even in Australia, have called for limiting the flow of data across borders, and requiring firms to install local data centres in each market to ensure local ”control”. This ”beggar thy neighbour” protectionism would be just as self-defeating in the digital economy as in every other sector.”
Personally, I find this kind of article incredibly hypocritical. It’s precisely this kind of imperialistic approach which gets the United States offside with so many other countries. Can you imagine the uproar which would greet any Australian company which suggested the US Government should stop being so dogmatic about hosting its data in US datacentres, and look overseas for other options? Yeah. You can’t simultaneously focus on protecting your own country’s interests and then get antsy when other countries try to protect theirs.
“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? ;)”