EU commissioner sets out how new data protection plans will help cloud

Kroes: cloud will change the way we do IT
Kroes: cloud will change the way we do IT

Neelie Kroes has said that planned new changes to data protection would help European businesses

European data protection rules must be formulated to help the cloud economy according to EU commissioner Neelie Kroes. Speaking today at the Digital Economy for Europe event in Brussels, the commissioner for the digital agenda said that data protection was an important part of the drive towards cloud.

Kroes pointed out that many smaller companies – who would be ideal users of cloud services – had plenty of concerns about cloud “potential users still hesitate. They worry about the service they will be getting, about risks of lock-in and whether they can trust the provider with their data.”

She said that the EU’s plans for better data protection announced last week would help give peace of mind for these companies. “Putting your personal data in the cloud needn't mean you lose control of it, or that you’re locked in to one provider. That's good for privacy, good for user control, and good for a competitive cloud market. Because I don't want a situation where choosing one cloud service means that you're stuck with that decision. And this is of course true even for non-personal data,” she said.

The EU is keen to drive the take-up of cloud computing, seeing it as a means of driving the European economy. “Cloud computing will change the way businesses do IT, and it will change our economies. Because it will tremendously increase flexibility and efficiency,” said Kroes. “ And I think we could all do with a productivity boost right now,” she added.

The European Union is already in the process of formulating a cloud computing strategy which is expected to be unveiled this summer.

Kroes said that data protection would form part of this strategy. “These three concrete things – Cloud-friendly data protection rules, a Cloud Partnership to make our public money count, and a supportive home for legal content – only make up a part of the European Cloud Computing Strategy,” she said. “In the coming weeks I will speak about building a coherent, Cloud-friendly legal framework here in Europe;  about how we will engage with the international community, and about the technical progress for security and interoperability.


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