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A 10-Step Policy Plan for Cloud Computing In Europe

With its promise of greater efficiency, productivity and value for money, cloud computing has emerged at just the right time for businesses, governments and organizations looking to do more with less. For policy-makers, getting the balance between innovation and regulation right is a key challenge, and the debate is gaining momentum in Europe and elsewhere.

In a lunch event held today in the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Ivailo Kalfin (S&D, Bulgaria), BSA released first comprehensive framework for policy action in Europe on the cloud. The BSA Cloud Computing Policy Agenda for Europe includes 10 concrete policy actions, legislative and non-legislative, that we submit should be undertaken to pave the way for the development of cloud computing services in Europe. These include measures to boost users’ privacy and security in the cloud, combat fraud and theft of service, promote the development of necessary standards and infrastructures, and ensure an adequate degree of regulatory clarity to spur investments in European cloud computing services.

Last week in Davos, the EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, announced plans to deliver a strategy to support the development of cloud computing services in Europe. Commissioner Kroes asserted that facilitating the take up of cloud computing is a priority in order to deliver a new generation of services for European consumers and to boost economic growth across a wide range of sectors.

Many of the existing policy regimes in Europe governing matters such as privacy, data protection, cybersecurity and intellectual property rights, are up for consideration in the near future by European policy-makers. By releasing this agenda on the heels of Commissioner Kroes’ remarks, BSA hopes to activate an informed and constructive discussion — in the context of current discussion on many of these policies — about the future of the cloud in Europe.

During today’s event, Mr. Kalfin acknowledged the importance of creating synergies between industry and policy-makers in order to harness the opportunities presented by cloud computing. Other speakers, including Dr. Udo Helmbrecht, executive director of ENISA, Mr. Carl-Christian Buhr, from the cabinet of Commissioner Kroes, and representatives from BSA member companies Symantec and Dell agreed that collaboration is the way forward.   

Setting the agenda is the first in a series of actions required to lay an efficient policy framework for public institutions, companies and citizens to build and benefit from the cloud phenomenon. BSA is committed to fostering dialogue about the future of cloud computing, and looks forward to the rich policy debate which will follow in 2011.  

BSA Cloud Computing Policy Agenda for Europe

  1. Promote transparency about security practices in the cloud
  2. Enhance data-breach legislation
  3. Create civil rights of action against cyber attacks
  4. Deter hackers with meaningful penalties at national level
  5. Harmonize Europe’s data-protection framework at member-state level
  6. Clarify the application of data-retention rules across the EU
  7. Pursue bilateral or multilateral cooperation on protections for the transfer of international data and assess existing mechanisms for the processing of international data transfers
  8. Clarify the application of trade disciplines to the delivery of cloud services
  9. Foster data portability through market-led and technology-neutral policies
  10. Deter the theft of intellectual property through sound enforcement policy and clarity about rights and remedies

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