By Brian O’Doherty.
It will be interesting to see if any new ideas for solving the trans- Atlantic data privacy problem arise during the many conferences on the topic being held in over 40 countries, including Ireland, on International Data Privacy Day tomorrow. Data privacy is a very big issue for the European institutions, but maybe less so for the Americans (and British) where data surveillance seems to be the government priority for the last 30 years or so.
It’s not only a matter of human rights, and politics: its critically important for the world economy, in the medium term. All experts seem agreed that the move to the Cloud will bring great productivity benefits and growth opportunities for business and other sectors of all economies. But, there is a leading impediment to this move, and that’s Security of Data… the fear in corporations and other data owners that the privacy of their data will be lost- in effect their ownership of their data- if it is to sit on Cloud-based servers owned and operated by third parties.
The debate revolves around the rights of other parties- especially governments- to access your data at will when you decide to transfer its location to the cloud server from its traditional resting place in your office computer. The best way to secure your data is to encrypt it strongly at source and make sure it stays encrypted all the time it is stored or travelling in the Cloud, until it finally returns to your own computer or other destination designated by you. But very few tech vendors offer this facility. (One that does is the Donegal start up, Netsso.com– where I must declare an interest.!)
The matter will not be resolved this week. But its got to be resolved soon, alongside the other two great issues of taxation of and data sharing by the tech giants. Hopefully, the Data Privacy Day in Ireland will help focus the minds and, especially, improve the understanding of the issue by the general public.