The new EU data protection rules proposed last week by the European Commission (EC) will make cloud-based services more attractive to European consumers and businesses, according to Vice President of the EC for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes.
Speaking yesterday at the 'Fuelling the European Economy' summit, Kroes explained that the new regulations were designed to dictate that everyone owns their own personal data, and has a right to know where it is stored.
She said that this means that personal data remains under users' control.
"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."
She added that this also applies to non-personal data, which includes data stored by businesses.
Part of the EC's proposal is to ratify a single set of legislation to govern data protection across the EU. Kroes explained that this will mean that organisations wil only need to deal with one regulator.
"We have proposed a Regulation to replace a Directive: that means a single set of rules for Europe, not 27 different ones. Alongside that, under the new rules you will get a one-stop-shop of enforcement.
"So that, even if an operator is active in several EU countries, it will only have to deal with one data protection authority – the one where its main base is."
She also said that cloud users should be able to know where their data is being stored.
"Cloud users should not have to guess where their provider is. If a company offers goods or services to people in the EU, or is monitoring them, then it shouldn't matter where that company's based – in Madrid, Mumbai or Mountain View."
Kroes announced that the EC is working on a new cloud strategy to be released this summer. Its aim will be to encourage cloud adoption among organisations in EU member states.
"We are working on a European Cloud Strategy for mid-2012. The strategy will set out how to make Europe not just cloud-friendly but cloud-active."