A Discussion of Practical Steps to Harmonize Data Protection Rules Globally
Shahab Ahmed, Director, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Corp, USA
While cloud computing holds tremendous potential to drive efficiency, cost-savings, innovation and growth in both public and private sectors, there are certain obstacles to rapid adoption around the world in both of these sectors. This paper identifies one of the key obstacles to achieving the full business and economic benefits of the cloud concerns about data security and privacy and the lack of common, globally accepted mechanisms for dealing with these issues, while at the same time enabling the free flow of data across borders. Both of these data security and the free flow of data across borders are criteria of a healthy cloud computing environment. Many countries and regions are struggling to balance these requirements, and the result has been a diverse and complex set of rules and regulations with which it is extremely difficult and costly for multi-national companies to comply. Government efforts are underway in every region of the world to solve these challenges. The paper explores constructive ways for industry and government to collaborate on finding a solution. In particular we identify and discuss an international data security technical standard that is emerging as a potential reference template for harmonizing data protection laws globally.
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