Cloud computing involves the sharing or storage by users of their own information on remote servers owned or operated by others and accessed through the Internet or other connections. Cloud computing services exist in many variations, including data storage sites, video sites, tax preparation sites, personal health record websites, photography websites, social networking sites, and many more.
Cloud computing — The World Privacy Forum sent a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa today expressing concerns and questions about a proposed contract to move the city of Los Angeles’ email and some other computing tasks to a cloud-based system. The Forum expressed concerns in particular about the lack of contractual protection for health data, AIDs data, genetic information, domestic violence and sexual assault victim information, among other sensitive information. The Forum suggested the city undertake an independent and thorough risk assessment prior to completing the contract, and suggested a robust public comment process that includes all stakeholders. The City will take up the issue of this contract at a city council Information Technology Committee meeting on Tuesday July 21. The World Privacy Forum published a detailed analysis of the privacy issues of cloud computing in February which outlines the challenges and ambiguities that governments and others face as they make decisions about what data to put in the cloud.
Tips for consumers:
Read the Terms of Service before placing any information in the cloud. If you don’t understand the Terms of Service, consider using a different cloud provider.
Don’t put anything in the cloud you would not want the government or a private litigant to see.
WPF report announcement — The World Privacy Forum’s newest report examines the privacy and confidentiality issues of cloud computing that have been largely overlooked to date. It is a thorough analysis with policy findings.
Privacy in the Clouds: Risks to Privacy and Confidentiality from Cloud Computing was written by Robert Gellman for the World Privacy Forum.
Cloud computing tips for consumers and business are also available.
Risks to Privacy and Confidentiality from Cloud Computing