The European Commission is considering plans to establish standard terms and conditions for cloud-based services, and has begun a consultative exercise to gather opinions from interested parties.
The EU needs to become not only cloud-friendly, but also cloud-active to fully realise the benefits of cloud computing.
Users and providers of services are invited to European Commission Digital Agenda (.pdf), which it describes as “Europe's strategy for a flourishing digital economy by 2020.”
"The EU needs to become not only cloud-friendly, but also cloud-active to fully realise the benefits of cloud computing. Besides allowing for the provision of cloud computing in its various forms, the relevant environment in the EU has to address the needs of end users and protect the rights of citizens,” the consultation said. “At the same time, it should allow for the development of a strong industry in this sector in Europe.”
The consultation aims to gather multiple viewpoints, and is seeking suggestions about how the public sector could play a role as a cloud user in developing best practices for EU cloud computing, and also how the deployment of e-Government and e-Science infrastructures by the public sector can set an example to others.
Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice president for the Digital Agenda, said she was looking to get feedback on several key issues:
- Data protection and liability questions, in particular in cross-border situations.
- Legal and technical barriers that could slow down the development of cloud computing in Europe.
- Standardisation and interoperability solutions.
- Uptake of cloud services, in particular by small- and medium-sized businesses.
- Ways to promote research and innovation in cloud computing.
“We need a well-defined cloud computing strategy to ensure we make the best use of this potential,” Kroes said. “The input we are requesting from all interested parties is important to get it right."