Cloud vendors unexpected beneficiaries of PRISM spy scandal?

11th Jun 2013
The row over PRISM spying allegations in the US could have a significant impact on the Cloud Computing industry and boost the European market. 
A number of slides leaked to the Washington Post appear to show the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI tapping into the central servers of a number of internet companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Apple with Dropbox reportedly soon to join the programme.
All the companies named in the Washington Post’s exposé have denied involvement, but conspiracy theorists note that James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence in the US has not denied the existence of such a programme, merely attacking the leaking of classified information.
In a personal viewpoint posted on the Gartner Blog Network, analyst Gregor Petri mulled over some of the wider implications, including the prospect of the European Cloud sector inadvertently benefiting from the row. 
Arguing that he had yet to decide whether to move personal information away from US-based providers and onto local alternatives, he stated: "Till today , individuals – like myself – often took a relaxed view towards protection of their privacy, using phrases like: 'Well, nothing I do here is secret or illegal, so if they wanna peek, no problem'. But illegal in an international context is a relative term."
Petri offered some advice and comments to anyone who has decided they want to use a more local Cloud provider. 
"Maybe it is time to reconsider ISP-provided email, but at the same time investigate the use of your own domain name (which makes your email a lot more portable). Make however sure that the mail provider your choose is not just owned by a European company , but that it runs under European jurisdiction (for example a European owned mail alternative I looked at turned out to be “a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware”)."
VoIP Calls
"Although European Telco’s have been talking about offering VoiP based alternatives to their regular mobile and fixed voice services, only very few have gone to market yet (check you local providers for possibilities) and even fewer offer it as a cost effective alternative for international calling."
Social Networks
"Moving to a new social network all by yourself is not a very social thing to do (and kind of defeats the purpose of a social network) so some group orchestration may be required."
"Alternatives do exist – from independent European companies as well as from Telco’s and ISPs and even from providers of networked hard disks. Maybe this is a good time for companies – who so far largely turned a blind eye towards the (shadow) use of such services, to offer internal – but just as convenient – alternatives to their employees."
Cloud IaaS/PaaS Providers
"This area is a domain where several local alternatives do exist, both at a national and a pan-European level. Some of these providers are even global  offering services from facilities they run in “neutral” – but latency-wise quit close by – locations like Canada or Switzerland."
But while there are local alternatives, Petri conceded: "The list of concrete named European Cloud Service alternatives is not as long as I would like it to be (any suggestions more than welcome, please submit via the  comments). That however was to be expected given the slower uptake of cloud in Europe described in existing Gartner research."

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