Reply to post: Re: America's increasing isolation

Thought your data was safe outside America after the Microsoft ruling? Think again

Nigel Campbell

Re: America's increasing isolation

The assertion about not giving two hoots about customers' privacy isn't true if it becomes a due diligence issue for the customers. Google and Microsoft - along with various other players - are trying to sell much more lucrative cloud hosting services such as Azure. If USGOV manages to establish a precedent that they can compel data to be handed over without having to make a case to the government of the country where it's domiciled, it causes two major problems to anybody providing any international hosting services.

* First, any entity with an INFOSEC policy has to consider the implications of having commercially sensitive data picked up in overly broad search warrants. This makes U.S. domiciled companies very unattractive to any entity that has any INFOSEC policy.

* Secondly, this type of warrant puts companies providing such services in contravention of the laws of other countries. A significant part of microsoft's defence is that it is impossible to comply with warrants of this nature without being in contravention of the laws of the country the data is domiciled in.

Exposure to the overly broad U.S. search and seizure policies is already causing infrastructure vendors such as Cisco to lose significant market share as it is now considered a significant risk that Cisco hardware may be backdoored. If these precedents are set in the U.S. then any U.S, domiciled company providing hosted services will bring the same operational risk.

However, the major risk for multinational companies trading in the U.S. is that it becomes impossible to do business in both the U.S. and any jurisdiction that has data protection laws, as U.S. law could compel them to do things that would be criminal offences in the domicile the data is held in. This would effectively balkanise the market for hosting services to U.S. and non-U.S. companies; Google and Microsoft would lose a lot of money and just about all of their market influence.

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