A US report has pointed an angry finger at our government's use of local cloud providers over that of US-based ones and the message it sends. Apparently, the simple act of not using online storage companies in the US to store sensitive information is paramount to giving such services a one-star review.
The US' grievances are expressed in "The 2012 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE)", carried out by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, or USTR. In it, the Department of Defence, the Privacy Commissioner for Victora and the National Archives of Australia are singled out as "sending negative messages about cloud providers based outside the country". But not because they were trolling Amazon or leaving erroneous negative feedback on eBay — the departments have just chosen to use local cloud providers instead of US ones.
According to Delimiter, the bigger issues that have kept the departments from exploring US-based options are privacy and a lack of infrastructure:
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.
The report mentions that the government departments have it all wrong — there's been a "misinterpretation" of the Patriot Act and related regulations. That said, given the choice of going abroad with our personal data and risking the messy legalities, or just finding someone local and being in a position to keep a close eye on things, the decision seems a fairly obvious one to me, the US be damned.
Image: Daniel Boyd.