US regulators scrutinise cloud privacy

The US Federal Trade Commission will look at cloud computing as part of a wider inquiry into consumer protections in new technologies
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

The US Federal Trade Commission is to discuss the impact of cloud computing on consumer privacy.

A round-table event, to be held on 28 January at the University of California at Berkeley, will also discuss the effect of mobile computing and social networking on the privacy of consumers.

The event will be the second in a series of three round tables designed to assess privacy challenges brought about by new technologies. The series is part of an inquiry being conducted by the FTC and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which will contribute to a US national broadband plan, and will study whether new regulatory frameworks will be necessary in the US to protect consumers.

The FTC stated in a letter sent to the FCC in December that strong cloud-computing consumer protections were needed.

"We believe that strong privacy and data security protections for consumers are critical as the FCC considers technologies such as cloud computing and identity management in implementing a national broadband plan," said the letter.

The first round table in the series was held on 7 December, 2009 in Washington, DC, and looked at the risks and benefits of information-sharing practices, consumer expectations regarding such practices, behavioural advertising, information brokers, and the adequacy of existing legal and self-regulatory frameworks in the US. The third and final round table will be held on 17 March, again in Washington.

Cloud privacy and security issues facing providers include compliance with local data-protection laws.

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