Cloud computing has emerged as a key trend in the Internet world. The ability to provide virtualised infrastructures, processing functions and/or applications "on the fly", to scale them according to the need and to allow organisations to outsource IT functions to a third party can greatly enhance efficiency, effectiveness and economy of their operations.
On the other hand, the concentration of data – often of a very sensitive nature – and processing functions to third parties, often clustered in specific countries, raises a number of concerns which need to be duly addressed to develop the necessary trust in this technology. In the absence of clear "rules of the road", cloud computing will hardly deliver the benefits it promises.
Such concerns are different in their nature and in the specific stakeholders they tend to impact. Businesses can fear that outsourcing key operational IT functions to third parties could pose a significant risk and could therefore want appropriate guarantees, either in the form of Service Level Agreements, insurance contracts or others, before "going in the cloud"; citizens would want to ensure that their personal data correctly handled; consumers would want to make sure that their rights are recognised and enforced no matter where a particular transaction "in the cloud" takes place.
Most of these issues have a very relevant public policy dimension, for example understanding what is the "correct" juridisction and legal system that should apply; how to ensure cross-border enforcement of judicial decisions; how to guarantee a level-playing field for industries that either use or produce cloud-based services in different parts of the world.
Purely private- or public-led approaches would be neither appropriate nor effective. It is necessary to facilitate multi-stakeholder and inclusive discussions and "out of the box" approaches towards a governance structure that would best tackle these challenges. For example, self- or co-regulatory solutions, partially based on "ethical standards" agreed via public-private dialogue, could contribute in this direction.
This workshop would be an occasion to compare different "visions" of what should be the ideal governance structure for cloud computing services; whether it would in any particular way differ from the general approach to Internet governance; and try to identify common grounds on which a globally coordinated approach could be pursued.
|1 year 41 weeks ago|
asteris (Asteris Masouras)
|2 years 10 weeks ago|