Prism threatens US cloud leadership

Eu-flag-vector-material2US IT cloud companies could be shut out of the EU thanks to its government’s obsession with spying.

While the EU is happy to have its own governments spying on citizens, it is less pleased when the data goes over the pond.  Last year it warned that US cloud providers should make sure that data stays within the EU.

Now it seems that PRISM has indicated that the US companies will hand over European corporate data even if that information has not crossed the US border.

Neelie Kroes, European commissioner for digital matters, warned that if she was an American cloud provider, she would be quite frustrated with her government.

In her view, European businesses are likely to abandon the services of American internet providers because of the National Security Agency surveillance scandal.

Her statement appears to be more of a prediction than signs of a potential ruling from Brussels.

In a statement, she said that if businesses or governments think they might be spied on, they will have less reason to trust 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?” she said.

Kroes said that American providers will miss out because they are often the leaders in cloud services. But if European cloud customers cannot trust the United States government, then maybe they won’t trust US cloud providers either.

“Concerns about cloud security can easily push European policy-makers into putting security guarantees ahead of open markets, with consequences for American companies. Cloud has a lot of potential. But potential doesn’t count for much in an atmosphere of distrust,” Kroes said.