Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Privacy Law Differences

Different laws apply in different countries but the internet is starting to blur the boundaries. There have been a number of cases recently where the USA has commenced legal proceedings against someone who lives in some other country and who perhaps has never even visited the USA because of something that the person offers via their web site and where the USA considers that sufficient connection exists for them to take action under US law. It has been suggested that even a site hosted outside the USA where there is no US company involved in any aspect of the site may be considered to fall under US jurisdiction if the site has an international domain name.

This US approach places the entire concept of cloud computing in doubt since with cloud computing the actual location where the data is stored is not under the control of the owner and can be spread across multiple countries. In shutting down one cloud hosting provider because some people were using it to upload stolen material many legitimate businesses who were using that provider to hold their business data in the cloud have now lost it all.

One recent article I was reading suggested that it is only a matter of time before someone ends up in a situation where it is impossible for them to avoid breaking the law. All it will need for this to happen is for the US to demand access to data that an Australian has stored on a server in Australia where the site uses an international domain name. The USA will consider that to be sufficient for them to claim the right to access to that data. Of course such a small connection would be insufficient under Australian privacy laws to permit such access and so anyone complying with the US law in that instance would be breaking the law in Australia and so would have no alternative but to disregard the US law in that instance. It will be interesting to see if that arises whether someone can be extradited to the US in such a case for breaking the US law where not braking that foreign law would be illegal under local laws.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.