Cloudy with a Chance of Regulation
Through virtualization and storage pooling, cloud computing enables optimal utilization of hardware and holds the promise of providing affordable access to technical resources to every individual. Government licensing of the industry would adversely impact the democratizing potential of cloud services for individual users and industry led regulation also runs the risk of entrenching the dominance of incumbent players and creating entry barriers for new businesses. However, this does not mean that the sector can be left completely unregulated. While experts have helpfully pointed out that a cloud is basically just someone else’s computer, large scale adoption of cloud computing raises serious concerns about privacy of users and security of data. These concerns are aggravated by the power imbalance and information asymmetry between cloud service providers and individual users. In this Birds of Feather session, the discussants will explore and ideate regulatory approaches to cloud computing which prioritize user rights.
During the Birds of Feather session, the discussants will explore the following questions against the backdrop of TRAI’s Consultation Paper on Cloud Computing and the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019.
- Will industry led regulation of the cloud computing market entrench dominance of existing players?
- Will industry led standardization effectively address problems of vendor lock in?
- What will be the impact of regulation of cloud computing services on innovation, user choice and affordability?
- How will cross border transfer of data be regulated in the context of cloud services in India? What impact will data localization requirements under the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 have on the cloud computing industry?
- How can we address concerns about privacy of users and security of data in the context of cloud computing?
For this Birds of Feather session, we encourage anyone who works in the cloud computing industry to join us including users of cloud services. We would also benefit from the insights of lawyers and policy professionals who advise clients and service providers in the cloud computing industry.
Devdutta is an Associate Counsel at Internet Freedom Foundation where she manages the Litigation and RTI verticals.