On January 28th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is planning to hold discussions examining the potential threats to privacy and data security cloud computing services could pose. This development is being closely watched by Google Inc., Amazon.com, and Microsoft Corp. The first meeting being held will primarily serve to gather information from industry players and to study the effects of cloud environments.
This step by the FTC comes after a derailment by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FTC authored a letter to the FCC in response to a request for comment on the national broadband plan being constructed by the FCC. In the letter, the FTC wants to alert the FCC to technologies such as cloud computing and identity management. Highlighting some of the cost benefits, the letter signed by David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, expressed concerns at the risks.
“The ability of cloud computing services to collect and centrally store increasing amounts of consumer data, combined with the ease with which such centrally stored data may be shared with others, create a risk that larger amounts of data may be used by entities in ways not originally intended or understood by consumers,” Vladeck warned.
The upcoming round table is the second holding on privacy issues. The interest of the FTC comes as companies such as Google and Microsoft seek to host cloud computing services. The trend towards cloud computing has raised suspicions among industry experts and consumers, urging the FTC to regulate the industry.
One possible result of the upcoming meeting is a comprehensive set of Fair Information Principles for the Internet.