EC – consequences of living in an age of total information

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on August 5, 2013

Statement by EC Vice President Neelie Kroes “on the consequences of living in an age of total information”:

“If businesses or governments think they might be spied on, they will have less reason to trust the cloud, and it will be cloud providers who ultimately miss out. Why would you pay someone else to hold your commercial or other secrets, if you suspect or know they are being shared against your wishes? Front or back door – it doesn’t matter – any smart person doesn’t want the information shared at all. Customers will act rationally, and providers will miss out on a great opportunity. In this case it is often American providers that will miss out, because they are often the leaders in cloud services. Which brings me to another interesting consequence of recent allegations. Particularly allegations about US government surveillance concerning European partners and allies. If European cloud customers cannot trust the United States government or their assurances, then maybe they won’t trust US cloud providers either. That is my guess. And if I am right then there are multi-billion euro consequences for American companies. If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now. I do not have an agenda here: I am committed to open markets, to liberal values, and the opportunities of new digital innovations. Yet even I am thinking twice about whether there is such a thing as a level playing field when it comes to the cloud. So I am saying two things: Concerns about cloud security can easily push European policy makers into putting security guarantees ahead of open markets; with consequences for American companies. Privacy is not only a fundamental right, it can also be a competitive advantage. Companies focused on privacy need to start coming forward into the light and help them do that. That would be a smart company indeed. And 2013 is the year. That includes European companies who should take advantage of interest to provide services with better privacy protection.”

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