Cloud Computing and Individual Privacy

By Neelie Kroes, VP European Commission And Digital Agenda Commissioner

This is an edited version of a speech delivered by EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes earlier today in France. The Commissioner embraced cloud computing as the digital future but warned it must protect individual privacy to be truly successful. 
Cloud computing is more than simply a technical challenge. By putting our personal data on remote servers, we risk losing control over that data. Because the right to the protection of personal data is a fundamental right in the EU, this demands several actions. Fundamentally, the Commission believes that we need further research to enhance the security features of these technologies. And indeed we are funding such research at European level – which looks at "privacy-by-design" and "privacy-enhancing technologies".

Additionally, there are questions about the flow of data within the EU and at a global level. For example, the implementation of the EU’s Data Protection Directive differs across Member States. We need to clarify when this reflects an unavoidable difference of culture and legal tradition, or when it is merely an avoidable obstacle to the rules of the Single Market. The Commission will continue working with Member States to address this challenge.

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