Friday

19th Oct 2018

Focus

Firms must protect cloud data, EU watchdog says

  • Can personal data be kept safe in the clouds? (Photo: Jonathas Rodrigues)

Companies using cloud computing services must "guarantee" compliance with EU data rules, according to the Article 29 Working group, the EU's leading data protection watchdog.

In a 27-page legal opinion released this week (3rd July) on the safeguards businesses would be required put in place to protect private data, the Working Group stated that firms should be required to spell out data privacy policies in all contracts with individuals using cloud services.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Under this model, individuals putting data in a cloud would have guarantees about access and use of their data, the terms and time frame for data retention, and clear rules on the deletion of personal data.

The Working Group, which is composed of national data protection supervisors alongside the European Commission and European data protection chief, Peter Hustinx, said that all firms offering cloud services should provide "security, transparency and legal certainty" for cloud clients.

Although the demands of Article 29 are not legally binding, national data supervisors and commission officials are expected to turn them into law.

They added that organisations wanting to use cloud computing services should first conduct "a comprehensive and thorough risk analysis."

The opinion comes with digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes set to expand on legislative plans for a European Cloud Strategy in the coming weeks before the summer recess.

Cloud computing, where services use the processing speed and memory space of the Internet, has emerged as a cheap and fast way of storing huge amounts of data.

Research published in June by IT research firm Visiongain put the global cloud market at $37.9 billion for 2012. Meanwhile, the personal data already held in clouds is already estimated at €75 billion and expected to increase further.

Software giant Microsoft reacted to the report, with Brad Smith, vice-president of Microsoft, on Friday (6 July) praising what he described as Article 29's "leadership" on the issue.

Microsoft claims that its Office 365 programme has the highest level of data privacy and security in cloud services.

Supporters of cloud services claim that it offers numerous ways to store huge amounts of data cheaply for businesses and public authorities.

However, there are widespread concerns that the mobility and lack of control of cloud data makes it impossible to police data processing and movement according to geographical or legal boundaries.

Regulating the use of cloud computing data forms part of the EU's revamped data protection laws initiated by Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding in January and which are now being debated by MEPs and government ministers.

Germany leads EU countries on cloud computing

Five EU countries rank among the world’s top ten for policies that promote cloud computing, according to a study published on Wednesday by an ICT body representing Microsoft and other international software giants.

Pressure mounts on EU cloud deal as deadline looms

The European Commission is under pressure to keep to its self-imposed September deadline to publish an EU cloud computing strategy, as new evidence revealed widespread public confusion about it.

News in Brief

  1. Japan to focus on circular economy at G20
  2. Italian budget 'significant deviation' from rules, says EU
  3. Podemos initiates debate on legalising marijuana in Spain
  4. Merkel: Focus on banking union at December EU summit
  5. Scotland confirms mad cow disease case
  6. European 'Green surge' set for repeat in Hessen election
  7. Rutte: summit was 'not the moment' for higher climate ambition
  8. Legal text for Brexit relocation EU agencies agreed

Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times

Covering two-third of the world's economic output and governing more than half of the world's population, the Europe and Asian leaders' summit in Brussels on Friday tests potentials for outlining a post-Trump world order.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud
  2. Polish left a glimmer of hope in fight against illiberal democracy
  3. Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times
  4. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa
  5. EU leaders worried about Italy's budget
  6. Russian activist warning on 'fake news' as EU backs action
  7. Kaczynski: No question of Polish EU exit
  8. EU summit to accept urgency of climate action – but no measures planned

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us