Australian cloud computing specialist Ninefold has warned that any datacentre set up by global rival Amazon Web Services in Australia would still be subject to US legislation, despite being located in a different jurisdiction.
Last week, The Australian newspaper reported that Amazon Web Services, the global retailer’s cloud computing division, was planning to open a new datacentre hosted in Australia next year. While the company didn’t confirm the rumour, it has opened an Australian office with dedicated local staff, as its advances international expansion plans.
If an Amazon datacentre was opened in Australia, the potential exists for more local companies to use Amazon’s services, as a number of companies and government departments remain unwilling to host data off-shore, in a different legal jurisdiction. However, in a statement issued last week, local company Ninefold warned a local datacentre wouldn’t make much of a legal difference. Ninefold, which is backed by local telco Macquarie Telecom, launched this year to provide local cloud computing services mirroring many of Amazon’s — but targeted specifically at the Australian market.
“There are … critical considerations around data sovereignty and US-headquartered organisations, regardless of the location of the datacentre,” the company’s local managing director Peter James said. “The US Patriot Act and the US Constitution affects data stored in AWS data centres wherever they are – even in Sydney.”
Ninefold recently highlighted a case on its blog where the FBI seized a number of services at a US-based datacentre operated by DigitalOne. The hosting company wasn’t informed about the raid until three hours after it had begun — and the end customers weren’t informed at all by the FBI.
“If DigitalOne hadn’t communicated with their customers, affected businesses would have had no idea that their website outage was not down to the usual suspects of technology or error, but instead due to their valuable data sitting in the back of an unmarked black van speeding away from the scene,” Ninefold community manager Jonathan Crossfield wrote at the time.
Last week, James added that even if you were storing “innocent” data, a hosting customer could still be impacted if “the Feds go after someone hosted on the same infrastructure”.
“This means your data, while housed outside North America, can be taken and withheld by government and police with no warrant or due process simply because your provider is a US registered company,” he said.
In a wider sense, James noted that Ninefold didn’t feel threatened by any local launch by Amazon.
“We have long planned for competitive and market changes,” he said. “Ninefold has been operational in the Australian market since January, with behind the scenes activities well before that. Since launch, we’ve gained considerable market share from customers who take advantage of our competitive pricing and innovation in product delivery, genuine human service and support and deep understanding of the Australian market.”
The executive said his company had worked hard to gain trust and build strong local and global customer and partner relationships — and it was currently realising the benefits of its endeavours.
“The cloud computing segment will continue to enjoy strong growth in Australia, as new demands, including environmental sustainability, bandwidth and pricing, require ongoing transparency and innovation. We created our business plan for all of these, right from the start,” James added. “We believe our brand, products, pricing and early market entry combined position us well to continue our rapid growth path, irrespective of competitive activity.”