The cloud computing market has started to grow somewhat significantly in Europe. There are now billions of dollars being invested in the country from some of the largest tech companies in the world.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has spent around $3 billion (€2.82 billion) on its Azure data centers in Europe as of now. It is now targeting France where it will get together with AWS to build cloud facilities in the year 2017. Apple is supposed to be spending around $1 billion in Denmark on their new data facility. Facebook is planning a data processing center of their own too there.
The main reason for all of this activity is evident when Satya Nadella went to Europe and announced a book called A Cloud for Global Good where there are tons of policy recommendations for the cloud with the main focus being on privacy.
The first chapter of the book talks about the problems of intrusive surveillance, the right to privacy, and uncontrolled data collection. How can you preserve free expression and privacy while protecting the safety of the public? It is a very important question, especially in a place like Europe where privacy rules are messy and cluttered which leaves many people scratching their heads. In 2015, the Safe Harbor agreement which was made between the US and EU was later struck down by the highest court of Europe.
What followed after this was months of wrangling between Washington and Brussels and a new agreement which was hastily unveiled called Privacy Shield. The data privacy framework was also in its final stages of overhaul in the background. This handed more power to the regulators all across the continent from May 2018 onwards when it comes into force. More regulations? Are more laws good? Time will tell. Excessive regulations in America have pushed millions of jobs overseas. It is Europe’s call!
As the privacy rules in Europe become more complex, the European Commission will be trying to calm all the fears about them clogging up data flows where data localization occurs.
This is something that’s happening in China where the companies which are working need to process and store data within the borders of the country. Andrus Ansip, the VP in charge of the commission’s plan to create a single market for digital services and goods recently spoke of the dangers associated with data localization, and also spoke of a plan which would prevent it from ever happening.
He said that some people are saying that fighting forcible data localization is something which the EU should not try doing. It is critical for them to act now to address this issue before it becomes too late.
Ansip has said that Denmark should be praised when it comes to averting the localized data issue. They recently changed their laws so that all Danish companies could store their data anywhere they wanted as long as they could be accessed by the tax authority whenever required. It appears like all the major tech companies are in agreement on a broad level, and aren’t interested in waiting to see how this plan Ansip came up with is going to work.