Cloud Storage Stymied by Patriot Act

Weak privacy laws make the U.S. an unfriendly place for non-U.S. companies to host data, says one user of cloud storage services.

And that could be bad news for some U.S.-based cloud storage vendors. While the customer's data may be stored in the cloud, cloud storage service providers must store the bits on the ground somewhere. Some Canadian and European firms worry that if that data sits on devices maintained on U.S. soil it will be subject to surrepticious peeks by certain U.S. government agencies.

That prospect bothers some business customers of COOP Systems' Web-based business continuity management software, who don't want their data subject to prying eyes of the U.S. government. They simply won't host their data in a U.S.-based cloud - period. The problem, says COOP CEO Chris Alvord, are generally inadequate legal protections for hosted data in the U.S.- and the government's power to snoop.

"We believe that legal exposure is inevitable, especially the Patriot Act provisions," Alvord says. So COOP, which uses Verizon's Remote Backup & Restore service, will be moving some of its operations to a Verizon facility based in Toronto. That location, he says "will be for Canadian and European [companies] that can't expose their data in the U.S."

That was just one of the security issues raised by businesses exploring cloud storage. You'll find their other cloud storage security concerns here.

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