Editor’s Note: It would be interesting to examine, for comparative purposes, the views expressed by major technology companies before the regulatory authorities in various countries.
Summary: Google, Telstra, and Microsoft warn against mandatory cloud services regulations; would harm start-ups, small business and cloud providers.
By Tim Lohman
Cloud service providers Google, Telstra, and Microsoft have warned that making a proposed new Cloud Computing Consumer Protocol mandatory will stifle the emerging cloud market and leave businesses, consumers, and startups worse off.
The protocol, proposed by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) on behalf of the Australian government, is aimed at encouraging greater take-up of cloud services, particularly by small businesses and not-for-profits by better informing them on issues such as privacy, data security, and data ownership.
Pressing for the protocol to remain voluntary, Telstra in its submission said that there is a “growing and vibrant market” for cloud services in Australia, characterised by an extensive range of competing services and underpinned by well-developed existing consumer protections.
“These market trends suggest the reluctance or hesitancy among Australian businesses referred to in the ACS discussion paper may not be as significant a problem as has been suggested,” the submission says. “Indeed, we would be concerned that adoption of an additional layer of regulation on industry would actually hinder the development and adoption of cloud services in Australia.
“We would suggest it is premature to move forward in developing a Cloud Computing Consumer Protocol (the protocol) in the form of a regulatory scheme at this stage, given it is unclear whether there is actually a market failure in the take-up of cloud services by consumers, SMEs, and NFPs.”
Google in its submission said that imposing a “highly prescriptive protocol” is inappropriate, given the dynamism of the IT industry. Further, the company argued that Australia’s tech startups could be hurt by the protocol.
“The introduction of unnecessary self-regulation could impede market operation and curtail both the development of Australian internet computing providers and the dynamics of Australian businesses accessing important global services,” Google’s submission says.